En EspaÑol

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?


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
36 ratings

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





More Trees Questions

Evergreen replacement for liveoaks with oak wilt in Austin
January 26, 2008 - One day after moving into our very first home and first home in Texas (just north of the Wildflower center in Sendera Southwest Austin) we discovered that all of our Live Oaks have Oak Wilt. After tre...
view the full question and answer

Protecting a new patio from oak roots
September 01, 2008 - Hello, I have just formed up for a new patio. I have a Live Oak tree about 2' away from the patio. It has a trunk diameter of about 10", I believe 20-25 years old. Problem: I have 2 large roots in ...
view the full question and answer

Removal of Ashe juniper trees
April 19, 2015 - I have 15 acres with scattered huge oak and elm trees with tens of thousands of Ashe Juniper (cedar) trees 2” to 10” in diameter growing within the drip zone of the hardwoods. How do I take out the c...
view the full question and answer

Identification of red leaf tree with wispy, feathery plumes on top
June 25, 2009 - I am looking for the name of a red leaf shrub/small tree that has feather like, wispy plumes which grow out of the top most branches. I do not have a photo. I live in Canton, MI.
view the full question and answer

Live Oak Mess in Liberty, TX
April 09, 2015 - Should I leave the pollination debris that has fallen from my 3 historic live oaks on the ground surface beneath them or use a leaf blower to remove.
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center