Oklahoma Deer

Pallida(Zone 7b)January 31, 2012

OK. I am sure, by now, that it is obvious that I am a transplanted "city gal". I have years and years and years (never mind) of experience in flower gardening and know my perennials, annuals, sun-loving, shade-loving, drought tolerant, fragrant, butterfly/hummingbird attracting, tall, short, etc. plants pretty well and have had to deal with mostly clay soil and invasive Bermuda everywhere I've lived, BUT, I have NEVER had to deal with DEER. All of my life, I have thought they were adorable, and I have a "live and let live" attitude about wildlife, BUT, with another growing season rapidly approaching and Spring Fever coarsing through my bones, I can hardly wait to get back outside and get dirt under my fingernails. Between the incredible "furnace" Summer and the deer last year, I had really sad looking flower beds. I have already yanked out plants, such as roses and daylilies that seemed to be at the top of the deer menu and planted a few cacti and succulents, but am wanting some attractive blooming plants that don't, neccessarily, appeal to deer or rabbits. I have searched the Internet, which tells me that different deer have different appetites, so, my question to those of you who are familiar with the Zone 7 deer, is what are some deer resistant, blooming plants, as I simply don't have the budget for electric or very tall fencing. Sprays didn't seem to do much good last year. I do so want flower beds that are healthy and eye-appealing! Country gardening is a definite challenge. I have all kinds of respect for rural gardeners, and the pioneers who fought the elements and the "critters" and settled this country!

Jeanie

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mulberryknob

The deer don't seem to bother my yucca. That's about the only thing I can think of. Oh and that trick of leaving a radio playing loudly didn't scare them a bit--or the coons.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 8:25PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Jeannie,

If the weather conditions are bad enough, the deer will eat almost anything, so most of my flower plantings are, by necessity, restricted to fenced areas. It has really cut back on what flowers I grow now, probably only about 1/4 of what I used to grow before the deer started eating everything in sight.

These are the flowers they are least likely to eat, though even these may get nibbled from time to time: four o'clocks, daturas and brugmansias, morning glories, moonflowers, black-eyed Suan vine, lion's tail, Texas hummingbird sage, salvia farinacea, larkspur, poppies, yarrow, gomphrena, Laura Bush petunias, verbena bonariensis, Texas bluebonnets, cleome, pink evening primrose, and Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina'. Most of these did get nibbled a bit in 2011, but none of them were totally devoured.

All of these are grown inside and outside of fenced areas. Sometimes the unprotected ones are not touched at all, sometimes they are only nibbled a little, and sometimes they are devoured.

Other plants that deer adore, like sunflowers, hibiscus moscheutos, nasturtiums and hollyhocks are grown only inside the fenced garden. I need a bigger fenced area so I can grow more flowers, and that is something I hope to work on this spring...fencing off a bigger area for flowers.

I plant oodles and oodles of native wildflowers because the deer don't bother them much. I usually plant the Firecracker 2-3-4 mix from Wildseed Farms, and often the Pack of Poppies and Texas/Oklahoma Mix. I planted some wildflowers in the fall and have more to sow in Feb-March because I think most of my wildflowers last year burned up before they could set seed.

Dawn

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 8:42PM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Thanks Mulberryknob and Dawn!
Actually, I planted two Yuccas, and ths rabbits ate them down to stubs. I covered the plants with little cages, and they are recovering.
I love the list you sent me, Dawn. If the deer are more apt to ignore native plants, I need to get an order off to Wildseed Farms. I am especially interested in Apache Plume, Rabbitbrush, Winterfat and the Maximilian Sunflower. Never have grown them, but love the look of them. I'm, also, interested in the "Lion's Tail" you listed. I know it is annual, but maybe, I can save seeds. Thanks, again!

Jeanie

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 9:04PM
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leakyroof

A few years ago I read an article in the "Missouri Conservationist" magazine. This is a magazine published by the Missouri Department of Conservation. The article was on so called Deer resistant plants. Basically the Department tested many plants and came to the conclusion that there is no such thing as Deer resistance. Deer will eat anything.
They also mentioned that to be totally secure you needed an 8 ft. fence. Pesky animals for sure. They have never bothered my garden, but this winter my wife saw two out in our little pasture. So now I am worried that they have found us at last. I have lived here for 21 years and have planted a veggie garden every year. I have missed a couple of years planting my vegetable garden since my first one in 1977, but not too many.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 8:07PM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Leakyroof (love that - remember Pa Kettle?),
Well, can't build an 8' fence, so will try some of the suggested plants and just hope the deer are "off appetite" for them and leave them alone. Good luck with your vegetables. Maybe we won't have another triple-digit Summer that kills all the vegetation, so the deer can find some browsing, other than our gardens.........

Jeanie

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 2:27AM
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joellenh(6b Jenks)

We lived in the woods in WV, and deer would come right up to our house, on our driveway, on our sidewalk, and they ate EVERYTHING.

I have (knock on wood) never seen a deer in my neighborhood. I did see deer in Jenks once, but they were in a wooded area. One of the few benefits of living in Suburbia!

Jo

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 8:15AM
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Irishgal2(7)

I have a neighbor who feeds the deer all year long! They cause devastation in my flower and vegetable garden regularly, so I am always looking for a solution. I read that you can string two strands of monofilament fishing line around your garden, one strand 3-4 feet and one lower, and that it will keep them away. They don't see the line and it startles them, so they leave. I think it's worth a try and I'm going to check it out this year around my veggies.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 7:40PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Deer are Rats in highheeled shoes wearing a tiara and they have one gigantic a entitlement complex. Shoot them and eat them on site. See yourself as a mountain lion. I have a nearby small development that feeds them and they have herds of 30 - 40 running around. Some nights I have 10 0n my front field. I am a transplant to and I still can't get it together to shoot them. It is more of a scheduling, processing knowhow and licensing issue than a moral sensitivity. They piss me off and I know I can't get them all and the ones left will be happier and healthier after a severe culling. We do have a overpopulation and their size is getting very small.

Beside the plants mentioned above, I do find that Salvias, iris,scorpion weed, nepeta, Flame acanthia, Texas betony, verbena, lantana, scutelaria, ornamental oregano, and lavenders and wildflowers do welll. They do like to munch on wine cups, echenacia, stiff leafed false goldenrod (that's a mouthfull)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 3:58PM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Thanks for adding to the plant list, Mara! I can hardly wait to get back outside. Looks like it will be a while, as Winter decided to pay a visit this week. I discovered the hard way last year that rabbits LOVE Callirhoe, but then, they might have had some help from night-browsing deer. What surprised me was their nibbling on cacti, eating the entire plant, if it was thornless or with few thorns. R and D will, indeed, eat ANYTHING, especially in severe drought, such as last year! I have read that the deer will, even, raid your bird feeders, although they would have to hurry to beat the squirrels and raccoons, and, I would assume, the rabbits would follow suit, but for the fact, they can't jump that high! ((*=*))

Jeanie

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 8:20AM
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slowpoke_gardener

I may try the fishing trick this year because I am going to set post anyway. The line will be easier to install than the 17GA. wire, altho I have more faith in the wire.
I installed 2 hot wires and 2 binder twine last year and it worked fine, but they have been feeding on the grain rye all winter and wont want to give it up.

Larry

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 9:19AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I am planting more and more calirhoe. My staratagy is to put so many , maybe they will miss some. It seeds easily.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 12:35AM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Mara,
Yep, it's trying to come back up from the roots. Maybe, they will leave it alone until warm weather. Actually, haven't seen any deer this Winter. Of course, they will be back this Summer, especially if we have another triple-digit Summer! Do you have any of the white Callirhoe? I've just always had "Winecups"..........

Jeanie

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 6:43AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Yes, I have purple wine cups , white AKA ( Calirhoe alcaoides "Logan Calhoun) and the purple and white striped one.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 10:18AM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Jealous, I am. Where did you get the seeds?

Jeanie

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 11:08AM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I am very lucky to live close to Austin and its very active native gardening scene. LBJ wildflower center and the Natural gardener caries the different types at varying times if I keep my eyes open. I also have an anual winecup AKA callirhoe leiocarpa. I have seen an occasional Callirhoe pedata (palm leaf winecup)growing in the woods but they do not seem to proliferate. My favorite is the Callirhoe involcrata var linearloba. There is variation in this species. Sometimes it is mostly white , and sometimes it is heavily striped. Native american seed company has seed for some of them. Their Liniarloba looks all white. They also have the anual wine cup (leiocarpa)

I buy a plant and collect the seeds.

Here is a link that might be useful: Callirhoe involcrata var linearloba

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 5:10PM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

OK. Found seed on NAS site. Also have White Prairie Clover. Seed pricey, but for just two pkts., might have to bite bullit and order, anyway. HA. Thanks for info, Mara! Just got my latest HCG catalog, and they have a White Callirhoe (Logan Calhoun), but I think it is pure white. Wildseed Farms seeds are a lot cheaper, but didn't see these two plants listed.

Jeanie

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 8:57PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

A lot of the seeds from Wildseed farms sells a lot of invasive plants from Europe. The shape of the C. involcrata var linearloba i is larger fatter petals that the shape of the "logan Calhoun". Here is my Linearloba. I moved it last spring and then the drought fried it. So i am looking for another good one. I look for a good flower. I might have some old seed hanging around. I might be rousting around in that rat nest tomorrow. Never know.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 11:50PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I do have the seed. If you email me from my page I can send some to you. They are a couple of years old. 2010 most likely

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 12:14AM
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