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Tuesday - October 27, 2009

From: Waller, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Native trees safe for cattle in Waller TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have a ranch where the pastures have no trees. Can you recommend native species which as safe for cattle and relatively maintenance free?


To address the last question first, a tree native to your area should be pretty maintenance free, because they belong there. Look out into wooded areas around your pastures. You'll see a lot of fine trees and you don't see anyone out there maintaining them, do you? So, we will pick some trees to suggest that are native to the Waller County area, and then give you some databases you can check with for safety of those trees for your cattle. We are going to look at trees for East Texas, South Texas and Central Texas in our Recommended Species section, because you're kind of in the junction of the three. You can follow the same procedure, selecting for soil moisture, amount of sunlight and so forth. Here are our databases to search, preferably on the scientific name, on any trees you might want to plant where your cattle can get at them. Just as a caution, do not plant any members of the genus prunus, like wild plums, because their leaves, when they shrivel, are toxic. Also, you will notice we have listed no oaks, because eating too many acorns can cause livestock real problems, even death. 

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 

Trees for cattle pasture in Waller, TX:

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

Fraxinus americana (white ash)

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)

Ulmus americana (American elm)

Ehretia anacua (knockaway)

Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)

Ulmus crassifolia (cedar elm)

We checked all of these trees against the above databases, and found none of them on the lists of plants poisonous to livestock. Just because a plant is not on these lists does not mean it is guaranteed not to be poisonous, but these are all pretty common trees and would be listed if there were a problem.

Images from our Native Plant Gallery: 

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Fraxinus americana

Taxodium distichum

Ulmus americana

Ehretia anacua

Cotinus obovatus

Ulmus crassifolia






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