Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Friday - October 25, 2013

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Pests, Problem Plants, Deer Resistant, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Do white-tailed deer consume King Ranch bluestem?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Will white-tail deer in central Texas consume King Ranch bluestem ?

ANSWER:

King Ranch bluestem was introduced from Asia and found growing at the King Ranch about 80 years ago.  It was apparently introduced to reduce erosion on degraded rangeland and was planted along many roadsides for the same purpose.  It is a poor quality forage for cattle compared with some of our native grasses.  Because it is so invasive it has choked out quite a few of our native wildflowers, and it is widely considered to be a serious pest.

I think it is fair to say that white-tailed deer seldom if ever graze on KR bluestem.  In the first place, deer are primarily browsers of forbs and shrubby vegetation and consume grass only in time of starvation.  Even then, other, more nutritious grasses are much preferred because the thin leaves and stems of KR bluestem contain so little protein.  In  short, KR bluestem has no natural enemies in Central Texas, and environmentalists who endeavor to restore native prairie grasses to the area are finding no effective way to eliminate it.

Bummer!

 

More Pests Questions

Organic means for ridding garden of stinging ants
April 18, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I have a butterfly garden that is filled with native plants the butterflies LOVE! However I have a colony of red ants that have moved in. I need to trim some of the more inva...
view the full question and answer

Care of butternut trees (Juglans cinerea) with bumpy growths
June 12, 2007 - I have two small butternuts, around 3-4 feet. One has developed very 'bumpy' reddish growths on the leaves that are actually stunting their growth. What do you think it is and what can i do to sto...
view the full question and answer

Demise of Flameleaf Sumac in Austin, TX.
July 31, 2012 - My Flameleaf Sumac suddenly died. Beetles came out around the trunk when I cut it down. How can I prevent this on the other sumac?
view the full question and answer

Controlling sandburs from Austin
February 24, 2013 - Hello, What is the best way to prevent sticker burrs from growing in a rocky bed with no grass. There are many other plants we want to preserve and a drip line to keep them watered. We have 2 small k...
view the full question and answer

Replacements for yuccas from Georgetown TX
August 07, 2013 - I have lost some softleaf and variegated yucca to a beetle grub destroying the root system - like the Agave snout beetle does. I have put an insecticidal drench on my remaining plants, but suspect wi...
view the full question and answer

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