En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - November 10, 2009

From: Hope, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Does deer repellant really work from Hope NJ
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Does Deer Stopper by Messina Wildlife really work as an organic pest repellent?

ANSWER:

Sorry, we're not into product testing. There are no telling how many "tried and true" products for discouraging deer and other animals from foraging in your garden. In our Special Collections, we have a list of deer-resistant plant species. Quoting from that 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."

Apparently the fact that deer tend to avoid aromatic plants has inspired many producers to make "sweet-smelling" (to you) sprays that will theoretically repel deer. Every one of those products, in very small print, will have a disclaimer saying that whether or not your plants will get eaten depends on the number of deer feeding in your area, the food supply, and the weather.  In other words, if they are hungry enough, they will eat just about anything, even if it stinks!

Deer are a very common problem here in the Austin area, too, including the grounds of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The severe drought we have had in the last two years has made the problem worse. Another problem is that some people think they're taking care of Bambi, and feed the deer. This just encourages the deer to hang around that area, accustoms them to being fed, and makes it possible for them to reproduce more prolifically. 

You'll have to trust us when we say that if we knew the perfect way to keep deer out of the garden, we would tell you, honest!

 

 

More Deer Resistant Questions

An evergreen, deer-resistant shrub for Memphis
July 24, 2013 - I need an evergreen, deep to partial shade, deer resistant shrub or tree. Does such a plant exist?
view the full question and answer

Keeping deer and rabbits out of plants
June 23, 2007 - Are there plants that are both deer- and rabbit-resistant? Something is eating the plants that the deer seem to leave alone--snipping off the flowers at the top of the stems (ie, zinnias and plumbago...
view the full question and answer

Connecticut Plants for a Steep Slope
September 09, 2015 - I am looking for the best plants to retain a steep, dry, fully shaded slope in zone 5, Connecticut. It must be deer resistant. Plant height is not a factor.
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants for New York
May 10, 2009 - My home is near the woods and so we get plenty of deer munching on everything but we also have shade and dappled light in the yard. I need to figure out plants that would thrive under these conditions...
view the full question and answer

Is non-native Chinese fringe flower deer resistant from Austin
April 05, 2011 - Is Chinese fringe flower (chinense var. rubrum) considered to be deer resistant?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center