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Wednesday - May 20, 2009

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer resistant groundcovers in Georgetown, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Is silver ponyfoot inviting deer into the yard? What are good alternatives, deer resistant, for large areas of groundcover, 100-200 sq. ft.?



Deer resistant means it might be aromatic, prickly, tough or the deer weren't hungry that day. Everything invites deer into the yard, except possibly a large dog.There are three dichondras native to Texas: Dichondra argentea (silver ponysfoot), Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina ponysfoot) and Dichondra recurvata (oakwoods ponysfoot). None of them appear on our Deer Resistant Plants list, which probably means deer love them.

Since this is hardly a unique question to Mr. Smarty Plants, we have a  Previous answer that actually addresses a similar question in Arlington, TX.

Now, let us tell you how to know what we know on deer resistance. Go to our previously mentioned  Deer Resistant Plants list, and for your purpose you will probably want to select on "herb" (herbaceous blooming plant) and then read the plant descriptions to see if you can find a suitable plant in terms of size, etc. We did this and found, first thing,  Aphanostephus riddellii (Riddell's dozedaisy), native to Texas and even found in the Georgetown area according to this USDA Plant Profile. It is a perennial, blooms white March to June, low water usage, needs sun, and its deer resistance is moderate. That means the deer will have it for their second course, when they are not quite so hungry. 

We suggest you follow this same procedure to see if you can find something suitable for your purposes. However, to quote the introduction to our Deer Resistant Species list:

"Few plants are completely deer resistant. Several factors influence deer browsing including the density of the deer population, environmental conditions such as drought, and plant palatability. Deer tend to avoid plants with aromatic foliage, tough leathery and/or hairy or prickly leaves or plants with milky latex or sap. Try using some of the plants listed here to minimize deer damage to your landscape."

Aphanostephus riddellii

Dichondra argentea

Dichondra carolinensis

Dichondra recurvata



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