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?

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - May 26, 2009

From: Murrysville, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Looking for a tree not toxic to horses in Pennsylvania.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I'm sending a tree as a gift and I need to know what I can get that is non toxic to horses. Can you please suggest a few.

ANSWER:

A tree is a very thoughtful gift; one that keeps on giving.

You didn't mention the environment where this tree is to be planted which makes it hard to suggest a particular one.  So this is going to be a two step process; first, find the name of a suitable tree, and then determine if it is toxic to horses.

To find a tree, go to  to our Recommended Species page and select Pennsylvania on the map; you will get a list of 135 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Pennsylvania. Go to the "Narrow Your Search" column where you can become more selective.

You see that you have several parameters from which to choose. Choose Pennsylvania  for the state, Tree under "Habit", Perennial under "Duration",  Sun under "Light requirement", the appropriate moisture for your site under "Soil moisture" (I chose moist), and you can ignore "bloom characteristics" for now.  Click the "Narrow your search" button and you will get a list of 36 plants that meet these criteria. Clicking on each plant name will bring up its NPIN page that describes the plant's characteristics.

You can modify your listing by changing the choices  for "soil moisture" and "light requirement" to match the location where the tree will be planted.i

Once you have found some plant names, go to our Suppliers Directory to locate businesses in Pennsylvania that have these plants for sale.

 As to the question of toxicity, I've listed several toxic plant databases below.  You can check for the tree you have selected on these lists. Please note that the absence of a name  from these lists does not guarantee that it is non-toxic to horses, but not finding it on the lists makes it less likely to be toxic.  To search the lists, I recommend using the scientific name  since those names are generally standard, whereas the common names often vary in spelling and usage.

Universtiy of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants Database

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University's Plants Poisonous to Livestock and other Animals

Texas Toxic Plant Database

Additionally, here are databases that are specific for plants poisonous to horses.

Equisearch.com

Trail Blazer magazine

ASPCA

Ohio State University

 

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Lightning protection of smooth bark cypress
October 05, 2008 - I have been told that the smooth bark cypress stores a large amount of water at its base and if lightning strikes, it will explode and extinguish the flames. Could you tell me if this is a myth? I'...
view the full question and answer

Difference between liveoaks (Quercus fusiformis and Q. virginiana)
March 17, 2008 - I am a little confused on the identification differences between Quercus fusiformis and Quercus virginiana. How can you properly identify between the two?
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and trees to protect beehives in Godley TX
April 06, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Is there a (relatively) fast growing native small tree or large shrub (NOT cedar) that tolerates Johnson County clay, full sun, sometimes damp and sometimes dry soil with no...
view the full question and answer

Patio Privacy Screen Suggestions for Central Texas
March 17, 2013 - I have just built a patio and want to plant some small trees, bushes or shrubs to form a visual barrier (rather than to erect a fence)to the neighbors yard.
view the full question and answer

Soapberry tree problems in North Richland Hills, TX
September 01, 2010 - We have a small grove of soapberry trees. The city recently reconstructed the street and added a side walk which now sets as close at 1 foot from the nearest tree. Everything seemed fine until they ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center