Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Deer resistant trees and shrubs for PA
May 05, 2011 - My yard backs up to woods, and we have a herd of 12 deer who peruse the neighborhood. This winter, the deer went after bushes and trees that they previously have not touched: euonomous and leyland cyp...
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

Need deer resistant plants for a shady north facing garden in Raliegh, NC.
June 22, 2012 - I am in need of Deer Resistant Native Shade plants for a North Facing Garden. It is 3 feet wide by 20 feet long. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you, Eaten Alive
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Deer-Resistant Plants
March 22, 2004 - Do you have a list of Texas plants that are deer resistant?
view the full question and answer

Deer Damage to Pencil Holly in Michigan
March 15, 2011 - I have 5 sky pencil holly bushes that are about 3 feet tall each..they don't grow very fast. I was looking forward to them reaching the 7 feet mark one day, as they are going to serve as a screen be...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.