Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - June 03, 2008

From: Palo Pinto, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer-resistant plants for steep hillside erosion control
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I am looking for advice on native plants to control erosion on a steep hillside in the western cross timbers. This is a shady area under post oaks and cedar elms, in shallow sandy soil mixed with large boulders. Most of the land is 45 degrees or worse. Oh, and the plants must be deer-resistant as it is heavily infested with deer. The primary understory now is smilax and prickly pear.

ANSWER:

Your best bet for controling erosion is grass. The grasses have fibrous root systems that hold the soil very effectively. Additionally, grasses are not a primary food for deer. They will eat grass when it is young and tender, but tend to avoid it after the grass is older unless it is their only choice for food. Here is a list of grasses that are native to Palo Pinto, Texas that will grow in part shade (2-6 hours sun per day) or shade (<2 hours of sun per day).

Poa arachnifera (Texas bluegrass) sun, part shade

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) sun, part shade

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) part shade, shade

Bouteloua hirsuta (hairy grama) part shade

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye) sun, part shade, shade

Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye) part shade

Tridens albescens (white tridens) sun, part shade. Photo from Texas A&M Uvalde.

You can also look through the other plants that are on our Deer Resistant Species list for possibilites for erosion control plants; however, grasses are going to be the best solution. Use the "Narrow Your Search" option to limit the list to Texas species.

You don't mention whether you are thinking of removing the cactus and greenbriar, but I recommend not removing them until you get some grasses established there—those prickly plants are helping with erosion control.


Poa arachnifera

Schizachyrium scoparium

Bouteloua curtipendula

Bouteloua hirsuta

Elymus canadensis

Elymus virginicus


 


 



 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Deer-resistant native plants for Michigan
June 06, 2008 - I am looking for a deer-resistant ground cover for a mid-to-northern Michigan (lower peninsula), which can grow in completely sandy soil. Thanks for any advice.
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant plants for Central Texas
July 25, 2011 - I live in a community that is overrun with deer, thanks to neighbors who feed them daily. I am looking for TRUE deer resistant plants for beds...they have eaten my lantana, salvia, esperanza, jasmine...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for deer resistance, low sun, granite gravel soil
March 21, 2007 - We live on Lake Buchanan in the Texas Hill country. What would you suggest for a flowerbed next to the house: north exposure, deer resistant, blooming, shaded by a live oak, granite gravel soil. Tha...
view the full question and answer

Not deer eating the Eve's necklace in San Marcos TX
June 16, 2011 - Dear Mr SP, Re: the Eve's necklace being eaten. I'm so sorry that I didn't tell you in my original question which you were kind enough to answer with the speed of lightening, but I am on the East...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistance of Calylophus berlandieri
March 25, 2007 - Is Calylophus drummondii deer resistant? We have a lot of mule deer in se Arizona? Thanks in advance for your advice.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.