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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - May 16, 2010

From: Louisville, KY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Evergreen plants safe for horses in Louisville, Kentucky
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a horse farm in Louisville, Ky. I want to plant evergreen plants along the walls in front of the horse barns. What types of plants are not toxic to horses can I use? Thank you so much for all your help with this. I bought a lot of yews(taxus x media) that after looking at your website I may have to take out and plant what you recommend. Thank you, Mr. Smarty Plants

ANSWER:

You will probably want to remove the yew trees from the area since at least one Taxus species appears on each of the toxic databases listed below:

ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant Lists—Horses

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Here are some evergreen trees and shrubs that should be safe for your horses—none of them appears in any of the above toxic plant databases.  Some are taller than the yew that you picked but they might work for you anyway.

Thuja occidentalis (eastern arborvitae) 

Pinus echinata (shortleaf pine)

Pinus taeda (loblolly pine)

Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)  This species appears on the Non-Toxic portion of the ASPCA list.

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Evergreen ferns:

Dryopteris carthusiana (spinulose woodfern)

Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

Short Shrubs and Sub-shrubs:

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry)

Leiophyllum buxifolium (sandmyrtle)

Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry)  This plant is on the Non-Toxic list of the ASPCA.

Paxistima canbyi (Canby's mountain-lover)

If you are interested in seeing shrubs or trees that are not evergreen, go to the Kentucky Recommended page and NARROW YOUR SEARCH by choosing 'Shrub' or 'Tree" from the GENERAL APPEARANCE box.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Thuja occidentalis

Pinus echinata

Pinus taeda

Tsuga canadensis

Morella cerifera

Dryopteris carthusiana

Dryopteris marginalis

Polystichum acrostichoides

 

 


Gaultheria procumbens

Leiophyllum buxifolium

Mahonia aquifolium

Paxistima canbyi
 

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