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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

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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Saturday - October 29, 2011

From: San Dimas, CA
Region: California
Topic: Poisonous Plants, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Shrubs that non-toxic to horses but that they won't eat
Answered by: Anne Ruggles

QUESTION:

I am looking for a low maintenance, low water, green shrub that horses won't eat and will not be toxic to them. I want to hide my neighbors corral and keep down dust on my side. The horses have "leaned" over the pipe fence and almost pushed it over to get at my apricot trees.

ANSWER:

We understand why you might like to lessen competition for the apricots.

To start with, let’s address the issue of toxicity. There is a list of links to plants that are toxic to horses at this Mr Smarty Plants answer:

The Range Plants of Temperate North America is another excellent source of determining which plants are toxic to livestock.

There are several native shrubs/ small trees that might be good candidates.

One is:  is Fraxinus dipetala (California ash) is a small deciduous tree (up to 20 feet) with fragrant white flowers.  Here are photos and more information.

Another is:  Cercis orbiculata [syn. Cercis occidentalis var. orbiculata] (California redbud)  is a small tree (up to 15 feet) with pink blossoms in the spring.  Here are more photos and information. 

A third is:  Cornus nuttallii (Pacific dogwood) grows 15 to 40 feet high and has showy flowers.

Another good source of information is your local County Extension Agent. From the drop-down menu at the top highlight "Offices" and then click on "County Offices."  These folks will be able to help you determinw what will work best in your microclimate and with your soil type.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


California redbud
Cercis orbiculata

California redbud
Cercis orbiculata

Pacific dogwood
Cornus nuttallii

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