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Friday - May 02, 2008

From: Ponder, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Trees that are non-toxic for horses
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in Ponder, Tx. We have some acreage and horses and wish to plant trees to afford some shade for the horses. Can you tell me what trees are toxic to horses.


This is not the first time we've been asked about toxicity of plants for horses. Please see this excellent previous answer on some plant lists with poisonous plants listed. We are going to find some good trees for shade in Denton County, north central Texas, and then check them against the lists of poisonous plants to make sure you're getting accurate information. None of the plants we are going to suggest appeared on the three lists in the referenced previous answer. There is no information in our Native Plant Database to indicate that any of them are toxic to horses or any other animal. We were going to suggest a couple oak trees, but this Equine Health website says the acorns, when eaten, are dangerous for horses. And we eliminated one tree, Ulmus americana (American elm), because it is susceptible to disease. You don't want to go to all the trouble of putting trees in the ground, and then see them go down with disease, if you can help it. This left us with three trees, all deciduous, that are considered good choices for your area and not believed to have any toxicity for horses. Remember, you are not only going to need to allow years for these trees to grow to shade size, but also they may need to be protected from the horses themselves when they are small.

Carya illinoinensis (pecan)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)

Carya illinoinensis

Platanus occidentalis

Taxodium distichum

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