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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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Saturday - November 03, 2012

From: Bulverde, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Propagation, Deer Resistant, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Junipers for restoring area in Bulverde TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Are ashe or virginiana junipers for sale around the hill country? I would like to recreate the natural plant life that was bulldozed next to my home. Do you recommend any other types of juniper that would be similar? I need evergreen, deer resistant, grows in sun/ pt sun, mostly caliche soil for Bulverde, tx. Thank you so much

ANSWER:

We have a couple of questions for you to consider before you make a decision to spend money on trees for reforestation. First, is the property yours? Second, why was it bulldozed?

We are not aware of the forest fire situation in Comal County, but it is possible that the trees were bulldozed as a fire break, which would be very much to your advantage to leave it as it is. Even if the land you are hoping to repopulate with trees is yours, you might want to consider that before you spend the resources to replace the trees. If it is not your property, you would have to get permission from the landowner to do anything on that property.

Now, having gotten the legal considerations out of the way, we will be glad to direct you to a way to find plant sources in your area. In order to select the plants you want, let us direct you to some of the information in our Native Plant Database. Begin with our list of Deer Resistant Species. Read and believe this statement at the top of that page:

"Deer Resistant Species

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. Try using some of the plants listed here to minimize deer damage to your landscape."

We will start with the Deer Resistance list, because this is the most difficult to find. Follow our link to the list; there are 344 species listed, native to all of North America. Go to the "Narrow Your Search" selection area on the right hand side of that page; select on Texas for state, tree for Habit and Narrow Your Search. You will then have a list of 34 trees native to Texas. However (there is always an However, isn't there?), if you follow each plant link to our webpage on that tree, and scroll down the page to Benefit, you will find that many of them are only "moderately" deer resistant. You need "highly" resistant. From that list, we will try to give you some selections that you could consider. For instance, Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper) is characterized as being only minimally resistant, Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) has no mention of deer resistance at all. From that list of Deer Resistant Species, here are the 2 that are considered "highly" resistant as well as evergreen, and native in or near Comal County to respect your specification of caliche soil:

Ehretia anacua (Anacua)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)

It would appear that if you can, indeed, replant on that area, you will need to look at other specifications. Perhaps you could consider shrubs or grasses or eliminate the deer resistance requirement. When our guests ask for very specific characteristics, we try to teach them how to find those using our Native Plant Database, and then decide what characteristic they can do without.

Finally, to your original question for plant and seed sources in the Hill Country. Go to our National Suppliers Directory, enter your town and state or just your zip code in the Enter Search Location box, and you will get a list of native plant seed suppliers, nurseries and consultants in your general area. All have contact information so you can call or e-mail first to find out what they have available.

 

From the Image Gallery


Anacua
Ehretia anacua

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

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