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?

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
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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - October 16, 2009

From: North, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Shade tree for horses in North Virginia
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I need to plant a shade tree for my horses and am considering a fast growing tree called an Empress Tree(paulownia). It would be outside of their fenced area but close enough to provide shade for them. Would any part of the plant be toxic to them if eaten? Is there a better choice for what I need?

ANSWER:

Anything would be better than Paulownia tomentosa, also known as Royal Empress or Princess tree. As a non-native, the Royal Empress Tree is not in our Native Plant Database. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we concentrate on plants native to North America. Paulownia tomentosa is not only non-native but is considered invasive in many parts of this country.

We will go to our Recommended Species section, and look for some trees native to your area of North Virginia. We will check with these databases for the possibility of being poisonous to horses of whatever trees we choose, eliminating any that we feel could be a problem. You could do the same and make your own selection and check that selection against these databases. Also, read this article from Trailblazer Magazine Poisonous Plants by Willis Lamm. 

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

Toxic Plants: Horses from the ASPCA

These trees were all checked and found to be native to northern Virginia and were not on any of the toxic plants lists. 

Shade trees safe for horses native to North Virginia:

Fraxinus americana (white ash)

Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Fraxinus americana

Liriodendron tulipifera

Platanus occidentalis

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Evergreen shrub for part shade in Austin
September 21, 2010 - I am planning a pocket prairie on the north side of my house. Where I am struggling is finding an evergreen shrub that will grow about 6-8', be native and provide semi-privacy in front of a bedroom ...
view the full question and answer

Need a shade tree in a limited space in Louisville, GA
October 29, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Pants, Hello! What kind of tree would be good to shade, in a limited space, and having a taproot? This is in middle Ga. One side of yard has main water pipe coming in off the road and ...
view the full question and answer

Colorful native plants for oak tree shade in Houston
August 26, 2009 - I live in Houston Tx - our subdivision entrance has many oak trees. We cannot find anything that will "stay alive" around these trees. It is mostly shady, but gets a slight bit of sunlight. we wo...
view the full question and answer

Wax myrtle or cherry laurel in Austin?
November 15, 2009 - For a very shady area under a large old oak tree with oak toxic soil, would a Wax Myrtle or a Cherry Laurel (caroliniana) be better? Looking for an evergreen screening tree up to 20ft, but it only get...
view the full question and answer

Plants for under live oak in Houston
July 09, 2011 - Hi, We have a live oak in our back garden in Houston and would like to plant a combination of some native shrubs and flowers near it (preferably perennial). The garden bed is about 4 metres from the...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center