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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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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!

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Thursday - June 20, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests, Deer Resistant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Lily plants being chewed from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Something is chewing my lily plants to the ground. Any ideas what and do I stop them?

ANSWER:

There are 274 members of the Liliaceae (lily) family native to Texas and 34 plants native to Texas with the word "lily" in their common name, so identifying the plant is not likely to help us answer your question. However, if they are beng "eaten to the ground," in Austin, we are betting on deer.

From the University of Nebraska Plants That Deer Will Not Eat lists "Tiger Lily."

eHow Deer Resistant Tiger Lily

Yahoo answers:  "Deer like lillies...I don't think there is a kind they won't eat. You will need to fence them in."

So, that's two to one, deer won't eat tiger lilies. Lilium lancifolium (tiger lily) is native to northern and eastern Asia, so they won't be in our Native Plant Database anyway.

Garden Web, Asiatic Lilies and Deer  "Oh yeah. The deer love asiatic lily. Actually they love any plant in the lily family." Obviously, Asiatic Lilies will not be in our Native Plant Database, either.

Deer Resistant Plants Deer Repellants Don't Always Work Lists Lilium orientale (Oriental Lily) as one deer don't like. Another non-native.

So, here's the thing: If you have cows grazing in your garden, they will eat anything, and basically, so will deer. Deer tend to show up and eat after dark, so you may not realize they are in the neighborhood. It is very dry and hot this year, and deer will brazenly walk into your yard and eat your shoelaces if you are not moving fast enough.

We suggest you educate yourself on the plants deer will eat. We have a list of 344 native plants deer tend to avoid. Please read this paragraph that leads that list:

"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."

 

 

 

 

 

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