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

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Monday - May 18, 2009

From: Granbury, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Is it deer or ducks eating plants in Granbury, TX?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have some salvia and coreopsis that were recently beheaded along with some blooms on Knockout roses. I had just recently put out some Deerscram, but we've had some ducks visiting recently. Could the ducks have been the culprits? If so, what do I do to keep them away?

ANSWER:

Ducks like young plants in particular; so, if you can protect plants until they have matured a bit it is more likely that the ducks will leave them alone. Also, ample supplies of sedges and grasses could divert the ducks from more decorative plants. We heard of a contraption that would startle the ducks away from this About.com:Landscaping website Scarecrow sprinklers. Since we don't get many ducks in gardens around Austin, we have not talked to anyone who actually uses it.

Frankly, we would be more suspicious of the resident deer than the visiting ducks. Sounds like the plants that got nibbled were all bigger than a duck would be interested in, especially the roses. As you no doubt already know, keeping deer away is one long struggle, and one we seldom win. Wire enclosures will help protect plants from both ducks and deer, but that is a pretty big hassle. If we had a no-fail solution to this problem, we would tell you, honest. 

 

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