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

Thursday - May 15, 2014

From: Crested Butte, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Perennials for a Horse Pasture in Colorado
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I am looking for horse-resistant perennials for zone's 2-4. I live at 9,000 feet in Crested Butte, CO.

ANSWER:

By horse-resistant, do you mean that you are looking for perennials that are not poisonous to horses or do you mean that the plants are not eaten by horses or can withstand horse hooves on them? Or all three criteria?

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plants Database.  Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.
Under Combination Search, select the following categories: State – Colorado, Habit – Herb (for herbaceous), Duration – Perennial, and Light Requirement – Sun.

These search criteria will give you an extensive list of plants (267 to be exact) to start. Follow each plant link to our webpage for that plant to learn its growing conditions, bloom time, etc. At the bottom of each plant webpage, under Additional Resources, there is a link to the USDA webpage for that plant. Take a look there for more specific details about suitability before you put them on your final planting list.
Next compare this list with the list of plants poisonous to equines. There are several on the internet.
List of Plant Poisonous to Equines on Wikipedia (this is a list of all types of plant, not just perennials)

Plants Poisonous to Livestock on the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences website. You can search by botanical name and common name.

Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List – Horse by the ASPCA. This list provides non-toxic plants which may be an easier search than excluding toxic plants.

For help with pasture management, contact the Colorado State University Extension. They have a small acreage management page on their website and a Colorado Forage Guide that you can download. It is Bulletin #563A.  Jennifer Cook is the Small Acreage Management Coordinator for Front Range at NRCS/CSU Extension, 57 West Bromley Lane, Brighton, CO 80601 303-659-7004 ext.3 Her email is jennifer.cook@colostate.edu.

Lastly, take a look at the hardiness of the perennial plants on your final list. Are they able to withstand your zone 2-4 winters?

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Do Salvia coccinea and Salvia occidentalis occur in Hawaii
April 27, 2008 - Aloha, Would you please happen to know if the salvia occidentalis and the salvia coccinea are growing in a wild state in Hawaii, the quantity (small or large areas? What are the weather conditions ...
view the full question and answer

Drought-tolerant plants for landscaping
November 13, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Our HOA is wanting to change the landscaping to Drought-tolerant plants and flowers. The area is Grayson County, south of Sherman Texas. What plants and flowers would you su...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep bank in Pennsylvania
July 12, 2011 - What do I do with a very steep bank with hard clay soil to stop erosion and to look nice. Is there a ground cover that would help?
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants for Trinity, TX
March 23, 2013 - I need a list of deer resistant flowers, herbs and plants that would could be planted in Trinity, Texas.
view the full question and answer

Texas natives to plant in July and August
July 23, 2008 - My husband and I have a disaster of a lawn that we were planning to develop slowly, over time, with a sustainable design we contracted from a landscape designer. However, we are having to move out of...
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