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Mr. Smarty Plants - Trees that aren't poisonous or don't have poisonous berries for dogs

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Wednesday - January 20, 2010

From: Las Vegas, NV
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Trees that aren't poisonous or don't have poisonous berries for dogs
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What trees are not poisonous or have poison berries for dogs?

ANSWER:

It is easier to make a list of trees that ARE poisonous or that HAVE poisonous berries than it is to find non-toxic ones since the non-toxic ones prevail. I suspect you are looking for a tree to plant in your yard that won't be harmful to your dog.  If that is so, I suggest you go to our Nevada Recommended species to find trees that are native to Nevada that are recommended for landscaping and are commercially available.   After you've found ones that you like, you can check them against several poisonous plant databases such as:

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina, Cornell University's Plants Poisonous to Livestock, the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System, the University of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants, Toxic Plants from University of California-Davis and Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List—Dogs from the ASPCA.

For instance, if you like Abies concolor (white fir), you will find that it doesn't appear on any of the toxic plant lists above. Actaea rubra (red baneberry), however, is on the Poisonous Plants of North Carolina database and Cornell's Plants Poisonous to Livestock, but not any of the others and it appears to be mildly poisonous.  Prunus virginiana (chokecherry) (or, at least Prunus sp., which includes peaches, plums, apricots and cherries) appears on all the above lists and is characterized as having major toxicity. So, the lesson here is that you probably should check more than one poisonous plants database.  Not finding a plant in one of the databases doesn't necessarily mean it has no toxic qualities, but it makes it less likely that it is seriously poisonous. However, finding a plant in all, or the majority, of the above, databases is a pretty good indication that the plant is seriously toxic and shouldn't be where it can be accessed by your pets or small, unsupervised children.

(Please note that the ASPCA's list is arranged by common names which are quite variable and therefore not easy to search.  The scientific names are there, although not as easily searched in the ASPCA's list, but are the most reliable name to use to find a plant in any database.)


 

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