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
2 ratings

Thursday - March 18, 2010

From: San Jose, CA
Region: California
Topic: Trees
Title: Fast-growing tree, non-toxic for horses, in Northern California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello..I need to find a fast growing shade tree, native to California (I live in Northern California, south of San Francisco) that would be safe next to (but not in) my horses paddock. Obviously something nontoxic and w/out fruit or flowers that could be toxic to her. Can you help??! I can't find anything anywhere :( :) Thanks for your help!!!

ANSWER:

The trees listed below all have rapid growth and are not toxic according to the USDA characteristics links. They all grow in or adjacent to Santa Clara County:

Pinus jeffreyi (Jeffrey pine)  Here is the USDA link to its characteristics.  Here are photos and more information.

Pinus lambertiana (sugar pine)   Here is the USDA link to its characteristics.  Here are photos.

Pinus radiata (Monterey pine)  Here is the USDA link to its characteristics.  Here are photos and more information.

Populus fremontii (Fremont cottonwood)  Here is the USDA link to its characteristics.

Avoid all Quercus species (oaks) and Prunus species (plums, peaches, cherries, apricots, etc.).  Also, do not plant Acer rubrum (scarlet maple) or any Acer species—see Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock.  The pines listed above are not listed on any toxic plant database but Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa pine) does appear on several of the databases below and should not be planted near cattle or horses.

Here are databases that you can use to check on toxicity of plants to horses and other animals:

Toxic Plants from the University of California-Davis

Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants from the Universtiy of Pennsylvania

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

Toxic Plants of Texas

ASPCA list of Plants Toxic to Horses

Horse Nutrition: Poisonous Plants from Ohio State University Extension Service

10 Most Poisonous Plants for Horses from Equisearch


Populus fremontii

 

 

More Trees Questions

Grey Goo Coming from red Oak in Manchaca TX
May 13, 2013 - I have a large Red Oak in my yard that appears to be weeping some sort of grey goo from parts of the trunk. What is this goo and do I need to treat it and if so how? I'm happy to come by the Wildflow...
view the full question and answer

Blackening of top growth of yaupon in Sunrise Beach TX
June 09, 2010 - My question regards a Will Flemming yaupon which I am thinking may be within your scope of expertise. These were recently planted under windy conditions, then hit with a neighbors antiquated jet type ...
view the full question and answer

Differentiating between red oak, Shumard oak and American sycamore
February 05, 2006 - I have a few trees growing in an arroyo and I'm pretty certain that they are either red oak, shumard red oak, or Texas sycamore. The trees are deciduous and have a scaled grey bark which becomes lig...
view the full question and answer

PVC pipes for irrigation in ground in Austin
August 19, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants,What are your thoughts on installing PVC pipes into the ground around trees and shrubby trees? A classmate's grandmother had a pipe pushed or pounded into the ground near her speci...
view the full question and answer

Planting trees to use carbon dioxide
September 06, 2007 - How many trees must we plant to use carbon dioxide produced by the average American in a year?
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