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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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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!

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Thursday - August 12, 2010

From: Castle Rock, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Need a smallish evergreen shrub that deer do not like, native to Colorado.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live south of Denver Colorado. I am looking for an evergreen shrub that doesn't grow wider than 3 feet and not taller than 4 to 5 feet - something that is native to Colorado or grows well here. (And it would be nice if deer didn't like it.) Thank you

ANSWER:

You didn't give me a lot of information about the location and growing conditions for your new plant; just the dimensions. Most shrubs can be shaped by careful pruning while they are still young.

Let me show you how to use the Combination Search feature in our NPIN Database that will allow you to make plant selections based on your needs and growing conditions.

Start by going to the Native Plant Database and scrolling down to the Combination Search box. Make the following selections: select Colorado under STATE, Shrub under HABIT, and Perennial under DURATION. Under Light Requirement and Soil Moisture, make selections that are appropriate to your growing conditions. You can ignore the Bloom Characteristics for now, and click the Submit Combination Search button. I made the selections listed above and included Sun under Light Rerquirement and Dry under Soil Moisture. I got a list of 48 native species that can be grown in Colorado. You can get different lists by choosing different light and moisture conditions. Clicking on the name of a plant will bring up its NPIN page which contains a description of the plant, information about the growing conditions, and pictures. Carefully going through these pages will give you a lot of data to use in deciding the right plant for you.

Our Special Collections page has a list of  deer resistant plants. Hopefully you can find the plant that you choose on the list. Some folks say that a hungry deer will eat anything.

Our National Suppliers Directory can can help you locate businesses that sell native plants in your area.

 

 

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