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

Tuesday - October 27, 2009

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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

 

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Tree near a patio in Tennessee
January 02, 2009 - What type of tree would you plant near a patio (new home and yard) that gets afternoon sun? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Is Franklinia alatamaha (Franklin tree) a major honeybee nectar source?
January 31, 2015 - Is the Franklinia tree a major nectar source for honeybees?
view the full question and answer

Placement of lemon cypress tree in Miami, FL
May 25, 2008 - Where is the best place to have a lemon cypress tree? indoors or out? Presently in south Miami climate, Scott's potting soil, clay pot, with good drainage.
view the full question and answer

Are baldcypress trees (Taxodium distichum) self-fertile
March 06, 2011 - We are considering planting a bald cypress in a grassy children's play area that has fair amount of clay in the soil and receives a good amount of rain water from an adjacent slope. This seems a good...
view the full question and answer

Small trees for property edge in Katy TX
April 16, 2012 - By deed restriction, I must have five trees on the side of my small suburban lot just west of Houston, TX. Due to the lot layout, the trunks are only about 8-10 feet from the house, with the trees abo...
view the full question and answer

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