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Wednesday - April 30, 2008

From: jesup, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Fast-growing native trees that are safe for horses
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What trees can I plant that are fast growing for shade and, most importantly, safe for horses?


Just about anyone we know who planted fast-growing trees was sorry later. You pay for speed in growth with weakness in structure. So, while we understand your need for shade, it will be better in the long run if you plant good, sturdy trees native to your area, and maybe put up awnings or an open structure for shade in the meantime. We did find a website, Fast-Growing Shade Trees for Georgia, from the University of Georgia Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Cooperative Extension Services with a list of trees they recommended as being able to grow fairly fast but still be good, long-lived trees. Some of their list were non-natives to North America, and at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we only recommend natives, and, more especially, natives to the area where you live. You know they will grow well there because they ARE growing well there. They are already adapted to the soil, the moisture, the temperatures that they will be growing in. We could find no indication that any of the suggested trees would have any fruit or seeds that would be dangerous for horses. For information even closer to home, here is a contact page for the University of Georgia Wayne County Extension Service. There are phone numbers, addresses, websites and e-mail addresses, and they very likely have more information on trees appropriate for your area in Southeast Georgia. Contact some of the Native Plant Suppliers in your area for more information and sources of the trees you select.


Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)

Acer rubrum (red maple)

Betula nigra (river birch)

Quercus acutissima (sawtooth oak)

Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree)

Quercus phellos (willow oak)

Taxodium distichum

Acer rubrum

Quercus acutissima

Liriodendron tulipifera

Quercus phellos





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