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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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Thursday - June 09, 2011

From: Buda, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Using Erosion Mats to Discourage Deer in Buda, Texas
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

I have a small back yard that has turned into a throughway for a large herd of deer. Whenever I try to grow grass the deer pull out the grasses. The more I water it, the more deer traffic. I was wondering if I could put some of that green material down, water it and keep the deer away like the highway department does on the highway ditches. Would this give the grass a chance to at least start and keep the deer away? Is that material along the highways a material with grass seed in it?

ANSWER:

The materials you see along the highways are called erosion mats or sometimes erosion blankets. They are usually put on slopes to prevent seed from being washed away before they can germinate and become established. Here is an article from the Journal of the International Erosion Control Association that discusses uses of erosion mats.

The thing that will contribute most to your success is choosing the right grasses. Most of our central Texas native grasses are going to be somewhat deer-resistant (not deer-proof) so will be a better choice than non-native grasses which the deer will eat as soon as the grass comes up.

The erosion mats can be bought with or without seeds. Mr. Smarty Plants strongly urges you to get the kind without seeds. That way you can select a grass mix that you know is appropriate for your area. You just sow the seed mix, then roll on trhe erosion mat and water it all in.

Native grass seed mixes and erosion mats are both available from Native American Seed.

 

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