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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.

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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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Wednesday - September 30, 2009

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Overwintering possumhaw seedlings indoors in Pflugerville, TX.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Can possumhaw (Ilex decidua) seedlings be kept indoors over the winter? The goal is to protect them from deer and there is no other good option (i.e., no protected outdoor porch, etc.), unless you can suggest one.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants will refrain from extolling the virtues of venison...

Trying to overwinter possumhaws indoors is probably not the best way to protect your seedlings.  Your local deer will be just as likely to browse your little trees in the spring as they are this winter.  Moreover, the atmosphere and temperatures inside a house are not optimal for North American trees in the winter.  They really need that winter cold and dormancy to develop well.

Many gardeners favor wire cages to keep deer from nibbling their garden trees and shrubs during the critical early years.  The wire should be sturdy enough and have mesh small enough to exclude them.

 

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