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Saturday - August 22, 2009

From: Foristell, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Plants safe for donkeys in Foristell MO
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for a plant that can grow next to a farm fence, preferably the length of the fence approx 75 ft. in a long row, one that miniature donkeys can safely eat, if they so choose. I like your idea to plant away from the fence, which I will do. I was considering Lavender. The ground slants down hill so soggy ground won't happen. What would you suggest to plant? Plants or seeds?

ANSWER:

You're not going to believe this, but we could find no list of plants poisonous to miniature donkeys. However, we do have lists of plants just generally poisonous and of plants considered poisonous to livestock and horses. We will select some plants we think would work on your fence line and give you the websites for poisonous plants so you can search for yourself on any plants you consider.

In terms of how to plant, with bedding plants or seeds, that depends on the plant. The woody plants, trees and shrubs, would give quicker results with plants from the nursery. With the grasses, you can certainly plant them by seed, and they will self-seed in the future. The only caution we would make is to get your grasses up and vigorously growing before you let the little donkeys at them, because we think they will love the grasses.

While Lavandula, lavender, is a lovely fragrant herb, it is not native.  It is sometimes used by chefs, but mostly to add fragrance, and some species are suspected of having neurotoxic qualities, so you might not want your little donkeys having that for a snack. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are committed to the care, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the site in which they are  being grown. We are going to look at shrubs, trees and grasses native to Missouri, since you didn't stipulate what kind of plant you were interested in. We found very little that is evergreen in your USDA Hardiness Zone of 5a to 5b (avarage annual minimum temperature of -20 to -10 deg. F.). We listed some grasses that are native prairie grasses to your area but are attractive and hold their places year-round, plus, since you say the land slopes away, the fibrous roots of the grasses will help hold the soil and prevent erosion. 

Before we look for plants for your fenceline, here is the list of poisonous plant websites you can check your selections against. It is better to use the scientific name to search on, as common names are often confusing.

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

Toxic Plants of Texas 

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Horse Nutrition: Poisonous Plants from Ohio State University

10 Most Poisonous Plants for Horses from EquiSearch.com

Poisonous Plants from Trailblazer Magazine

Toxic Plants: Horses from the ASPCA

Plants for a fenceline in central east Missouri:

Shrubs

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush) - evergreen, 6 to 12 ft., blooms white, pink June to September, high water use, part shade or shade

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry) - 4 to 6 ft., blooms white, green April to June, medium water use, part shade, shade

Trees

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) - 15 to 30 ft., blooms pink March to May, low water use, part shade or shade

Grasses

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem) - warm season perennial, 4 to 8 ft. tall, medium water use, part shade or shade

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) - 3 to 8 ft. tall, medium water use, sun, part shade or shade

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) - 18 to 24 inches tall, low water use, sun or part shade

 

 

 

 

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