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

Replacement trees for southwest facing backyard in Austin, TX.
September 23, 2010 - The back of the house we are purchasing faces southwest and is completely devoid of large shade trees. I have been told that the previously existing trees were destroyed by oak wilt. I am in love wi...
view the full question and answer

Pruning tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
June 05, 2009 - Thank you for your answer regarding when my tulip tree will flower. I also understand it can/will grow to over 100 feet so should we be pruning it a certain way to keep it contained? thank you
view the full question and answer

Replanting of non-native Christmas Palm from Sarasota FL
November 28, 2012 - Do you know of a proven technique to plant a Christmas Palm in a built-in concrete pool deck planter box - using gravel around the soil root ball to delay the root bound condition we just ripped out?
view the full question and answer

Mexican oak and red oak not looking healthy
August 02, 2014 - I purchased a Mexican oak tree and I believe a red oak tree from your center about 1 year ago. Recently I've noticed that they don't look as healthy as they have been, and I just looked at the leave...
view the full question and answer

Are Rhododendrons and Mountain Laurels native to the Texas/Mexico Border?
July 05, 2012 - I'm trying to determine whether Rhododendrons, azaleas and mountain laurel grow around the Texas/Mexican border. Are they native to this region?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center