En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - November 04, 2008

From: Mariposa, CA
Region: California
Topic: Deer Resistant, Shrubs
Title: Deer eating creosote bushes (Larrea tridentata)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have Creosote Bushes (Larrea tridentata) that grow wild on out 10 acres. The deer eat those plants all year 'round. Probably more in the dry times of the year. Just wanted to let you know that they are NOT deer proof. Thank you,

ANSWER:

Thank you very much for your information.  Most of the lists for deer resistant plants emphasize that the plants are "deer resistant", not "deer proof".  For example, see the following listings of Larrea tridentataCamouflage Gardening by Patti Simons from the Native Plant Society of Texas, Deer Resistant Rarely Damaged Shrubs from Deer-departed.com and the Deer Resistant list from Pacific Coast Home and Garden Center.  But we do know that deer will eat things they aren't "supposed" to eat.  It often depends on the concentration of deer in an area and the availability of preferred food as to whether they will eat plants that have been named "deer resistant".  After environmental conditions have forced them to eat plants that they normally avoid, deer sometimes seem to develop a taste for the usually unpalatable species.  For instance in my urban neighborhood several years ago when there was a drought and a large population of deer, they ate the normally spurned English ivy (Hedera helix)—not such a bad thing since English ivy is on the Plant Conservation Alliances's Alien Plant Working Group "Least Wanted" list.  They ate it down to the bare stems and denuded a lot of lawns.  The ivy being the hardy, invasive plant that it is, recovered; but, strangely, they still eat it sometimes even though they don't seem to be particularly stressed for food right now.

 

From the Image Gallery


Creosote bush
Larrea tridentata

Creosote bush
Larrea tridentata

Creosote bush
Larrea tridentata

More Shrubs Questions

Native Plant Suggestions for Dripping Springs
August 02, 2011 - I have a very dry commercial property in Dripping Springs TX where the dry sand/dust isn't a good rain conductor (whenever we get rain). What can we plant there? We have no irrigation and use a rai...
view the full question and answer

Small Tree or Shrub for Northern Virginia
March 04, 2011 - I live in Northern Virginia in the metro D.C. area and we just had a large pine tree topple over in the front of our house. We would like to replace it with a native evergreen that wouldn't grow up a...
view the full question and answer

Trees and shrubs for Rockwall, TX
April 13, 2011 - Hi! I've been advised to contact you regarding my dilemma. Please rsvp asap. I'm ready to plant. 1)I have a small backyard with full, hot, Dallas sun and cold winters, many times below freezing. ...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping for a wedding in Memphis MO
October 13, 2009 - I am pretty new at this landscaping flower thing, but I love it. We just moved out to the country in NE Missouri from Colorado (Huge difference, but love it). We have decided to have our wedding at o...
view the full question and answer

Native shrubs to replace non-native boxwood in Parker County, TX
January 31, 2009 - I'm looking to replace some Japanese Boxwoods my wife planted years ago with some native plants, they run along the front of our house next to the foundation and porch about 60' in length. I prefer ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center