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?


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
1 rating

Tuesday - July 12, 2011

From: Auburn, CA
Region: California
Topic: Pests
Title: Discouraging rattlesnakes in northern California
Answered by: Guy Thompson


Searching for information re: managing your garden to discourage snakes, especially rattlesnakes. I live in northern California and we have many. I found one of your articles, but the link to an U. of Miss. article on this very topic does not link. Could you please send me that link or tell me more about being a more informed gardner. I have heard that rosemary attracts them and am asking if this is true and what also can be done to discourage them. Thank You !!!


Sorry the link to discouraging snakes did not work for you.  Here it is again.  I hope it connects this time.  The main points are to remove all potential hiding places for snakes and their prey. 

Most experts claim that plants do not thenselves attract or deter snakes.  But they may attract rodents or other favored snake prey.  So you should consider whether any of your plants might be in that category, e.g., if they produce edible fruit or nuts that fall to the ground.  One effective deterrent is the king snake, which eats rattlesnakes.  Keep them if found, but remember that the rattlesnake prey you should eliminate are also favorites of the king snake.

If you think you have more than one or two rattlesnakes, especially in early spring and fall, that raises the possibility of a rattlesnake den being in the vicinity.  Rattlesnakes den up for the winter in caves, sink holes and other sites protected from the cold and gradually disperse from that spot when warm weather arrives.  Get in touch with the Placer County Cooperative Extension Service personnel if you suspect that such sites may exist near you, and the officials can put you in touch with someone who knows how to look for dens.

Good luck, and watch where you step!


More Pests Questions

Moths around Sophora secundiflora from Driftwood TX
March 15, 2012 - Sophora secundiflora Our Mountain Laurel has a lot of large moths flying around it. Should we be concerned? Will they hurt the tree? thank you
view the full question and answer

Problem with mesquite tree limbs
June 13, 2014 - i keep finding some smaller branches of my mesquite tree in the turf area around the tree. when looking at the cut ends, they appear to have a smooth cut around the circumference of the limb about 1/...
view the full question and answer

Weird growth on oaks in Middleburg FL
February 05, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants; I have this plant/fungus that grows on my trees here in northeast Florida & nobody has been able to identify it for me. It looks like a clump of pine needles growing on the ba...
view the full question and answer

Spots on leaves of Esperanza from Dallas
May 30, 2012 - Have a new 1 foot high Esperanza. It is flowering OK (so far) but it has small rust colored spots about the size of a B-B all over most of the leaves. On the top side of the leaf the spot is depress...
view the full question and answer

Leaves wrinkling on Tecoma stans from San Antonio TX
August 16, 2013 - My two year old esperanza (planted in the ground) froze back last winter, came back from the roots & has been doing well all summer. Recently one branch has leaves that are nice & green but very wrin...
view the full question and answer

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