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 groundcovers for erosion control
September 26, 2012 - I need a ground cover (vine??) that will help me with erosion on a sloped front yard. It gets about 6-8 hours of sun and my main need is for something that the rats in our neighborhood will not destro...
view the full question and answer

Arizona centaury near Lost Maples from Austin
November 05, 2012 - I found a clump of Arizona centaury growing/blooming beside a road near Lost Maples State Nat. Area in the Texas hill country last week. Centaurium calycosum is the scientific name. I have 2 questio...
view the full question and answer

Lily plants being chewed from Austin
June 20, 2013 - Something is chewing my lily plants to the ground. Any ideas what and do I stop them?
view the full question and answer

Shade Tolerant, Deer Resistant, Evergreen Hedge Suggestions for CT
April 30, 2013 - I think I am asking for a lot, but here we go… Is there a deer tolerant evergreen that can grow in the shade and create a hedge of 5 feet tall here in CT? I am not opposed to ivy covering a fence if t...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant vines for trellis
December 07, 2009 - We would love to have a blooming vine on our trellis, but the deer devour ever attempt. Please recommend something! Thank you.
view the full question and answer

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