En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - May 03, 2014

From: East Greenwich, RI
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Edible Plants, Poisonous Plants, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Plants for farm animals from East Greenwich RI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What type of perennial flowers and shrubs are safe to plant around farm animals (dogs, horses, chickens, turkeys) in New England climate?

ANSWER:

Are you speaking in terms of safe to the animals (i.e., not poisonous) or safe for the plants (the animals won't harm them)? Here is how we plan to help you, and then you can do some more detective work depending on what your answer is to our above question. This member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team has never raised any farm animals, spent any time farming, nor gardened in New England. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are to be grown; in your case, Kent County, RI.

So, using several different sources of information, we will give you some plants that are native to Rhode Island (teaching you how to search our database), the names of some poisonous plants and information on what animals eat.

From Ask.com, What do Dogs Eat?

From Ask.com, What Do Horses Eat?

From Hencam com, What to Feed Your Chickens

From backyard chickens.com What Do Turkeys Like to Eat?

Next, finding specific foods for those animals. Go to our Native Plant Database and scroll down the page to Combination Search. Using the drop down menus, first, enter Rhode Island as the State, then select the Habit (grass, shrubs, etc.), you already said you wanted Perennial under Duration. Next, check the appropriate box under Light Requirements, Soil Moisture and Size. Click on "Narrow Your Search" and you will get a list of all the plants fulfilling those descriptions that are native to Rhode Island. For different Habits and/or Light Requirements you will have to run separate searches.

Now, assuming you have found a list of possible edibles for your various animals, you need to know if any of them are poisonous. Here is information from previous Mr. Smarty Plants answers to help you:

Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List – Horses from the ASPCA.

Toxic and Non-toxic Plant List – Dogs  From the ASPCA

However, we can give you some websites you can check for whether or not a plants has poisonous parts and it is better to know the scientific name for the search.

The lists often are only plants native to North America, but ordinarily if you search on one genus name (jasminoides or mandevilla) the information on the poisonous plants will be the same for all species of that genus. Here is our list:

ASPCA

University of Arkansas

University of Illinois   

Toxic Plants of Texas 

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System 

California Poison Action Line 

You should also check with your veterinarian to make sure some locally available plant has  been proved to be poisonous that is not on any of the lists.

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plants to grow under a black walnut tree in PA
July 03, 2011 - I want to plant some shrubs and flowers in an area with southern exposure that is dry, sunny, and within the drip line of, and partially under a large black walnut tree. I had been told that native pl...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower Center work on non-native, invasive Bastard Cabbage from Austin
March 20, 2014 - Still have cabbage weeds that infiltrated Austin awhile back. How did Wildflower Center resolve it?
view the full question and answer

Is Gooseneck native from Cleveland Heights OH
July 20, 2012 - I live in Cleveland Heights, OH, and have an abundance of gooseneck in my yard. Is it a native plant? Thank you!
view the full question and answer

How to use seaweed for mulch and fertilizer
September 24, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants,I live on the Peconic Bay, Greenport, Long Island. We have an oyster farm and lots of seaweed. I've read that seaweed was used on farms in the past as mulch (fertilizer?). ...
view the full question and answer

Plants resistant to salt spray in FL
December 18, 2011 - What type of plants can I put in a small planter bed next to a waterfall with a saltwater pool? Everything I put in there dies. I live in Southwest Florida.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center