En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Fast-growing tree for horse arena in Southern California

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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - July 06, 2011

From: Trabuco Canyon, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Trees
Title: Fast-growing tree for horse arena in Southern California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Trabuco Canyon, CA, and we just lost an old Sycamore in our horse arena. I would like to replace it with some thing that is fast growing, and will be able to withstand life around horses, our Santa Ana winds, and can do well in an extreme high fire danger area.

ANSWER:

The quintessential fast-growing trees are:  1)  Platanus racemosa (California sycamore) and here are photos and more information; and 2)  Populus fremontii (Fremont cottonwood) and here are photos and more information.  There is a male cultivar, 'Nimbus', that doesn't produce the "cotton".  The sycamore is listed on the Fire-Wise Plant Material for Sonoma County list.  Neither of these trees is evergreen.

 These next two trees are fast-growing evergreens for your area:  1)  Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. aspleniifolius (Fernleaf catalina ironwood) is fast-growing and evergreen.  Here are photos and more information.  2)  Pinus muricata (Bishop pine) and here are photos and more information.

 Here is information about fire effects for three of the trees from the US Forest Service database:

Sycamore:

"Surface fires in the bottomland forests in which sycamore occurs readily
kill saplings and seedlings of all species.  Larger trees are wounded by
fire; fire wounds act as vectors of disease, increasing rot and
decreasing plant vigor."

Cottonwood:

"Mature Fremont cottonwood trees are  top-killed by moderate fire.  The cambium layer is damaged by even low-severity surface fire.  In California, a severe wildland fire completely consumed the understory vegetation of a Fremont cottonwood community. Fremont cottonwoods that were top-killed by the fire were sprouting vigorously from the root crowns." 

Bishop Pine:

"Older trees have thick bark, which enables them to survive surface fire in woodlands and savannas."

Catalina ironwood was not included in the US Forest Service database.

You certainly don't want to plant your tree or trees and have the horses eat all the leaves, rub against the trunk and break it, or eat the bark.  Here is advice from a nursery in Texas about protecting newly planted trees from livestock and wildlife.

It is also important that your tree is not harmful in any way to the horses.   None of the above trees appears as toxic on the ASPCA Toxic and Non-toxic Plant List – Horses.  Trees that should be avoided for horse enclosures are:  Quercus spp. (oaks), Prunus spp. (cherries, chokecherries, peaches, apricots, plums, almonds), Acer spp. (maples) and Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa pine).

You can check the following toxic databases for plants that could be potentially harmful to horses:

Cornell University's Plants Poisonous to Livestock

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

University of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants

Toxic Plants of Texas

 


 

More Trees Questions

pruning Chinkapin oak, Loquat and Monterrey oak trees
December 07, 2012 - What is the best time to plant a 45-65 gal. Chinkapin oak tree in Pflugerville. Also, when can i prune fig trees, Loquat trees and a Monterrey oak. Thanks for the information.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on women trying to conceive
July 10, 2005 - RE: Eucalyptus. Is this bad for women trying to conceive? The smell is very powerful.
view the full question and answer

Need a tree with a tap root for a small flower bed in Winston-Salem, NC..
May 20, 2010 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, I am looking for a tree 6-10', somewhat spreading, could flower (not essential) to serve as a focal point in a small bed with small shrubs and perennials. I need a tree with ...
view the full question and answer

Bird-friendly plants for the Texas coast
July 13, 2012 - I'm interested in starting a native plant garden, specifically with an eye towards providing food (either from the plants or insects that are attracted to the plants) for migratory birds. However, s...
view the full question and answer

Trees and other plants for privacy along lake shoreline
March 09, 2013 - We are purchasing a new home that has a 2 acre lake. We would like to add some plants/trees for privacy around the shore line. Can you suggest something that would fill in nicely and is strong enoug...
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