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?


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
1 rating

Friday - May 02, 2008

From: Ponder, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Trees that are non-toxic for horses
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in Ponder, Tx. We have some acreage and horses and wish to plant trees to afford some shade for the horses. Can you tell me what trees are toxic to horses.


This is not the first time we've been asked about toxicity of plants for horses. Please see this excellent previous answer on some plant lists with poisonous plants listed. We are going to find some good trees for shade in Denton County, north central Texas, and then check them against the lists of poisonous plants to make sure you're getting accurate information. None of the plants we are going to suggest appeared on the three lists in the referenced previous answer. There is no information in our Native Plant Database to indicate that any of them are toxic to horses or any other animal. We were going to suggest a couple oak trees, but this Equine Health website says the acorns, when eaten, are dangerous for horses. And we eliminated one tree, Ulmus americana (American elm), because it is susceptible to disease. You don't want to go to all the trouble of putting trees in the ground, and then see them go down with disease, if you can help it. This left us with three trees, all deciduous, that are considered good choices for your area and not believed to have any toxicity for horses. Remember, you are not only going to need to allow years for these trees to grow to shade size, but also they may need to be protected from the horses themselves when they are small.

Carya illinoinensis (pecan)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)

Carya illinoinensis

Platanus occidentalis

Taxodium distichum

More Trees Questions

Shade-loving plants for birds in New Jersey
March 25, 2013 - What native plants should I add to my property, Zone 6, to feed birds naturally? I have a heavily treed lot, so I'd like names of shade loving perennials. Seed or fruit bearing options would be gre...
view the full question and answer

Killing oak sprouts from El Paso TX
August 16, 2011 - I want to know how to kill oak root sprouts and seedlings. Very dense and out-of-control in huge area of front lawn. I had tree cut down and I still cannot get rid of them. They're only getting wors...
view the full question and answer

Timing for transplanting a yaupon in Louisiana
January 01, 2009 - I found a female yaupon growing wild at the back of my property and would like to move it to the front. When should I do this?
view the full question and answer

Ash tree dying back to lower sprouts in Kempner TX
June 19, 2010 - My 2 year old ash tree leaves dropped, appears dead, branches dying. New growth near base of tree. Do I cut upper trunk or remove entire tree? My other ash is doing well.
view the full question and answer

Leaves dropping on native Texas Mountain Laurel in San Antonio
September 20, 2008 - Please help. We have a beautiful TX Mountain Laurel in our front yard. This year the leaves are dropping like snow in the north. What do you think is wrong with our tree?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center