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Sunday - April 05, 2009

From: Little Silver, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Native evergreen tree for horse pasture in New Jersey
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I just pulled out a laurel that was hiding a stand pipe in our horse paddock. We had trouble this winter with the horses eating it when there was little grass to graze on. Can you suggest an evergreen that is not toxic to horses?


Mr. Smarty Plants found several native evergreen conifers that grow in New Jersey that are not toxic to horses and one native evergreen that is NOT a conifer and is safe for horses.

Ilex opaca (American holly) is the one evergreen that is not a conifer.  It is not listed as toxic to livestock, but both Poisonous Plants of North Carolina and Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System lists the berries of Ilex opaca as mildly toxic to humans when consumed in large quantities.

None of the conifers listed below appear on the two toxic plant databases above or in Mr. Smarty Plants' other two favorite toxic plant databases—Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock and University of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants Database.

Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae)

Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

There are also several pines that are suitable, e.g.,  Pinus echinata (shortleaf pine), Pinus strobus (eastern white pine), Pinus taeda (loblolly pine) and Pinus virginiana (Virginia pine).

If you decide you want a different tree that isn't evergreen, you can find native trees in New Jersey by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH on our Native Plant Database and choosing 'New Jersey' from Select State or Province and 'Tree' from the Habit (general appearance) option.  You can check them against the toxic plant databases listed above to see if they are safe for your horses.

You might also be interested in visiting the following links about poisonous plants and horses:

10 Most Poisonous Plants for Horses from EquiSearch.com

Poisonous Plants from Trailblazer Magazine

Toxic Plants:  Horses from the ASPCA

Horse Nutrition:  Poisonous Plants from Ohio State University

Ilex opaca

Chamaecyparis thyoides

Juniperus virginiana

Thuja occidentalis

Tsuga canadensis

Pinus echinata

Pinus strobus

Pinus taeda

Pinus virginiana





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