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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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Friday - August 12, 2011

From: Casper, WY
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Pests, Drought Tolerant
Title: Antelope Resistant Plants for Casper, Wyoming
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

What are some drought resistant, full-sun plants for Wyoming that are Antelope resistant - Deer are not much of a problem, but antelope are!

ANSWER:

We can certainly suggest some native, drought-resistant, full sun plants.  Antelope resistant seems to be a much harder question!

So, lets take the easy one first.   If you go to our "Recommended Species" page, you can select Wyoming as the state of interest.  Then you can also narrow your search by selecting "full sun" and "dry".  This still left 48 species to consider when I tried it. 

As I mentioned above, antelope resistance is not in the data that is often attached to plant descriptions.  I did find two resources that might be helpful.  There was an article in the Journal of Wildlife Management that discusses antelope forage. It said that they prefer Grass in the Spring, and Black Sagebrush in Fall/Winter. Sadly, they concluded "succulence appears to be the major characteristic  of the forage sought by antelope".  Which means to me that if it is green & healthy, they will like it!  I also found an Extension Bulletin that listed food habits and actual species.  The one thing I noticed was that they prefer shorter plants, 15" or less, and avoided plantings with foliage 30" or greater.  I've put images of three candidates for you, 30" tall or higher and adapted to hot & dry conditions below.

I hope that helps a little bit.  You probably could do well to consult local experts.  The University of Wyoming supports Extension Offices in most of the Counties.  The Natona County Expension Office should be local to you.

 

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