Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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 plants for shaded fence in Arizona
January 28, 2009 - I need to place a fence around my front yard (4-5 ft tall), in Arizona. What evergreen flower/plant can you recommend that would grow on this fence? (it would only get about 2-4 hours of sun daily and...
view the full question and answer

Want salt, shade, drought tolerant plant for Rochester, New York
September 21, 2010 - I am looking for a ground cover plant for western NY to grow on a strip alongside a road that gets very little sun in summer (lots of tree branches shading it). It gets a lot of road salt in winter a...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep slope in shade in Iowa
July 02, 2010 - I work for a small non-profit shelter here in Dubuque, Ia. that has a very steep slope behind the building that needs some sort of plant or grass planted to stop erosion. The slope gets little to no s...
view the full question and answer

Leaves turning brown on geum in Mountlake Terrace WA
July 12, 2010 - Assuming a geum is North American . . . mine are turning brown unlike any time before. They get watered occasionally and then dry out. Is there something special I should be doing for geums? They get ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover to prevent erosion in Florida
November 04, 2012 - I live on a hill and put in a new side driveway and now I am seeing erosion along the driveway and can see the bottom of my concrete. Grass won't grow because its all shaded. What would be the best g...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.