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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 - November 03, 2011

From: Sturgis, SD
Region: Midwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer Resistant plants in South Dakota
Answered by: Anne Ruggles

QUESTION:

Plants and flowers that deer wont eat and will grow in Black Hills, SD

ANSWER:

No plant can be guaranteed to be "deer-proof," however; some are less tasty than others. Generally, select plants within the following guidelines:

  • Native plants growing in their native habitats may be less appealing to deer than highly fertilized and highly watered Garden plants.
  • Deer tend to avoid foliage that is sticky, hairy, feathery, or omits an odor they do not like.
  • A hungry deer will find almost any plant palatable.
  • Rutting males may also cause problems. They tend to seek out younger trees to rub their antlers on as they come into rut in the early fall. This can damage the bark or deform the tree. Rubbing can be thwarted by placing 4 sturdy stakes on each side of the tree. The deer will move on to a more favorable place to rub.
  • Netting can reduce deer damage to small trees.
  • Adequate fencing to exclude deer is the only sure way to control deer damage.

The Wildflower Center has a page where you can search for deer-resistant plants by location and characteristic. Make sure to narrow your search (using the parameters on the right side of the page) by location, type of plant, soil moisture, etc.

The South Dakota County Extension Agent for your area may be able to provide you with recommendations for your specific site characteristics.

Colorado Statue University has a several sources available including a paper by C.E. Swift and M.K. Gross. Preventing Deer Damage. This paper includes information on repellants and fencing as well as about deer resistant species.

The Jolly Lane Greenhouses in Rapid City has a good listing of plants that includes characteristics including required light-level, deer resistance, moisture requirement, etc.

 

 

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