Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
3 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

Will wood shavings in the soil require nitrogen from Charleston MO
May 04, 2011 - I cut down a big maple tree and a lot of the wood shavings was left in the soil. I planted a flower bed over the area this spring. I later read that the wood chips in the soil would use a lot of nitro...
view the full question and answer

Small trees for property edge in Katy TX
April 16, 2012 - By deed restriction, I must have five trees on the side of my small suburban lot just west of Houston, TX. Due to the lot layout, the trunks are only about 8-10 feet from the house, with the trees abo...
view the full question and answer

Watering oaks in Houston, TX.
June 07, 2011 - Our yard (Real County, TX.) has many oak trees. We never water these trees, but I wonder if you recommend watering during this extreme drought. The trees look very stressed and are covered in ball m...
view the full question and answer

Frost protection for non-native citrus trees from Austin
November 24, 2013 - With ice predicted, should I pick citrus, lemons, limes, satsumas that are not quite ready?
view the full question and answer

Mountain Laurel and Desert Willow in pots or ground in Brady, TX
May 09, 2006 - I would really appreciate your advice if a Texas Mountain Laurel (now a 1 gal. size) and a Desert Willow (now a 3 gal.) are good candidates for planting in containers and, if so, what size for each? ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.