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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.

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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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Monday - June 22, 2009

From: Moberly, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Need a deer resistant plant that will grow in clay soil in Missouri.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I need a plant or bush that is deer resistant and that will grow in clay soil. Can you help me?

ANSWER:

Clay soils can cause some problems because they are poorly drained and usually alkaline, but there are ways to ammend the soil. As to deer resistance; if deer in Missouri ane anything like deer in Texas, they'll eat anything when they are hungry. However, here are a couple of websites with lists of plants that seem to be less palatible to deer; Lady Bird Johnson WIldflower Center  and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

But first let's find some plants. Go to the Recommended Species page and select Missouri on the map. You will get a list of 157 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Missouri. On the right  side of the page, you can narrow your search by selecting the parameters for the kinds of plants you want. Select Missouri under State, determine if you want a herb, sub-shrub, or shrub under General Appearance, select perennial under Lifespan, select the amount of light in your location, select Moist for Soil Moisture since you have clay soil, and select the Bloom Time and Bloom Color if you have preferences. You can probably ignore those for now. I selected Missouri, shrub, perennial, Part. shade, and Moist. When I pressed the "Narrow your search" button, the list was reduced to 14. When you click on the name of each plant, you will pull up its NPIN page with photos, and information about the growth characteristics. You can generate several different lists by changing your selections under each category.

You can then go to our Suppliers Directory  which help you business that sell the plants that you selected.

A source of help closer to home is the Randolph County office of University of Missouri Extension.

 

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