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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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Tuesday - May 12, 2009

From: Hamburg, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Plants that ducks will not eat
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I own a lot of ducks and see a lot of people asking what kind of plants will they "NOT" eat... I know of some through experience.. Anything with shiny leave.. They don't touch my English ivy, roses (That could be the thorns though), Azaleas, Holly, They don't like lemon grass either.. I'm still going through the experimental stage yet, so when you buy make sure it's just one or two, you just never know with those cute little buggers.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thanks you for your comments and for sharing your observations.  Given our mission ("The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes") we would certainly recommend native species of the ones you mention—native azaleas, Rhododendron spp.,  native roses, Rosa spp., and native hollies, Ilex spp.—but would not recommend non-native species, especially ones that are considered invasive such as Hedera helix (English ivy).  I'm sure that there are plenty of native plants that can survive near duck ponds, such as ones that grow prolifically (e.g., grasses, sedges and rushes) that the ducks can eat and not completely decimate and ornamental plants that can be protected until they reach a size that makes them uninteresting to the ducks.

 

 

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