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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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Wednesday - February 19, 2014

From: Fontana, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Trees
Title: Evergreen trees for California that are non-toxic for dogs
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, we live in California, San Bernardino County and would like to know what evergreen trees are safe to plant in our backyard with 2 little dogs being around. I did quite some search online but everybody keeps talking only about plants safe around dogs not trees. Please please Help!Any answer will be very appreciated! Thank you!

ANSWER:

The American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a Toxic and Non-toxic Plant List – Dogs that includes both woody (trees and shrubs) and herbaceous plants.  You can check the list (searching with the botanical name) for evergreen trees you are interested in.   The first half of the list is the "Toxic" species; whereas, the second part of the list has the "Non-toxic" species.  Here are some native evergreen trees that that are known to grow in San Bernadino County and do NOT appear on the "Toxic" portion of the list:

Arbutus menziesii (Pacific madrone)  Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido and Santa Margarita.

Calocedrus decurrens (Incense cedar)  Here are photos and more information from The Gymnosperm Database.

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber (Smooth mountain mahogany)  Here is more information from Texas A&M Aggie Horitculture.

Cupressus forbesii (Tecate cypress)  Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Juniperus californica (California juniper)  Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Juniperus occidentalis (Western juniper)  Here are photos and more information from TreeGirl.

Malosma laurina (Laurel sumac)  Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Morella californica (California wax myrtle)  Here are photos and more information from Great Plant Picks.

Pinus coulteri (Coulter pine)  Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Pinus jeffreyi (Jeffrey pine) Here are photos and more information from The Gymnosperm Database.

Pinus lambertiana (Sugar pine)  Here are photos and more information from Giant-Sequoia.

Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa pine)  Here are more photos and information from Virginia Tech.

Pseudotsuga macrocarpa (Big-cone douglas-fir)  Here are photos and more inofrmation from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Quercus agrifolia (California live oak)  Here are more photos and information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Quercus chrysolepis (Canyon live oak)  Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Quercus wislizeni (Interior live oak)  Here are photos and more information from Cal Poly Urban Forest Ecosystem Institute.

Umbellularia californica (California laurel)  Here are more photos and information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Washingtonia filifera (California fan palm)  Here are more photos and information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

There are other toxic plant databases that you can check as well.   Those are generally focused on toxicity to humans or livestock such as cattle or horses.   Use the botanical name to search for the tree in the databases since the common names are not as precise as the botanical names.  Here are a few of those:

University of California Safe and Poisonous Garden Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Cornell University's Plants Poisonous to Livestock and Other Animals

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

North Carolina State University Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms

 

From the Image Gallery


Smooth mountain mahogany
Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber

Ponderosa pine
Pinus ponderosa

California live oak
Quercus agrifolia

California laurel
Umbellularia californica

California fan palm
Washingtonia filifera

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