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 Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Controlling erosion with grasses in Dallas, TX
October 19, 2013 - After consulting with several geological engineers and the city of Dallas engineers - we know that our severe erosion problem can only be fixed by building a 35' foot high gabion wall about 150' in ...
view the full question and answer

When to harvest native grass seeds?
May 29, 2015 - We are trying to restore native grasses to a small pasture between Oak Hill and Dripping Springs. Last spring (2014), we seeded a mix of sideoats grama, little bluestem, dahl bluestem, and sprangleto...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants for Pittsburgh PA
January 30, 2012 - What shrubs can I plant on a wet slope that gets partial sun that will help control erosion? They need to be something the deer won't eat! We have lots of deer.
view the full question and answer

Use of Turffalo in Possum Kingdom TX
June 27, 2013 - Hello, we will be building a retirement home in the hillside area of Possum Kingdom Lake which currently has cactus, cedar, and some live oaks. Our intention is to keep most of the 8 acres natural wi...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for shady area in north Texas
July 29, 2013 - I'm looking for a ground cover for a mostly shady area where St. Augustine won't grow. I don't want the ground cover to overtake my established St. Augustine in the rest of the yard. The area is un...
view the full question and answer

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