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Safer Barn Landscaping

Many popular landscaping plants are toxic to horses. Find out which to avoid and which are OK to use at the barn.

By Sarah Coleman | January 21, 2015

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Grazing Horse

Whether updating a barn or creating a perfect horsey haven from the ground up, equine safety should get top billing. While care is taken in many barn-planning details, from aisle width to insulation to placement of paddocks, many times landscaping becomes an afterthought once the buildings are in place.

This can be an issue, as many trees and plants commonly used in landscaping are hazardous to horses. Before you begin laying out your landscaping, check out this handy list to find out what plants should and shouldn’t be used around horses. While the list can seem extensive, it doesn’t require that the land surrounding your farm be laid bare. Non-toxic trees, plants and flowers can beautify your barn without putting your horses at risk.

While all of the "avoid” plants should not be immediately accessible to curious equines, it may also be worthwhile to keep them off your property entirely, even where horses don’t normally roam. Horses have a way of finding their freedom on occasion, and the last thing you want is for an escapee to nibble on something he shouldn’t.

Plants to Avoid:

Trees:

Plants:

Flowers:

Black locust
Black walnut
Fruit trees:
  • apple (including crabapple);
  • cherry;
  • peach;
  • plum
Red Maple
Yew
Boxwood
Bracken Fern
Branching Ivy
Burning Bush
English Holly
English Ivy
Holly
Buttercup
Chrysanthemum
Daffodil
Foxglove
Hibiscus
Gardenia
Garlic
Heliotrope
Hibiscus
Hosta
Hyacinth
Hydrangea
Jack-in-the-pulpit
Lily-of-the-Valley
Oleander
Paper White
Peony
Sweet Pea
Wisteria

 

Plants Non-Toxic to Horses:

Trees:

Plants:

Flowers:

Hawthorn
Hemlock
Hickory
Maples (except red)
Oaks
Pear
Tulip Poplar
Crepe Myrtle
Eastern Arborvitae
Eastern Teaberry
Hollyleaved Barberry
Mulberry
Swedish Ivy
Coral Bells
Daisies
Easter Lilly
Gerber Daisy
Hens and chicks
Hollyhock
Rose
Snapdragons
Sunflower
Tiger Lily

 

Listed here are just a few of the plants, trees and shrubs that are both hazardous and safe for your four-legged friends. For a more detailed list of what trees, plants and flowers are safe to be planted around horses, visit the ASPCA's animal poison control center.

Liked this article? Here are others you'll enjoy:
Protect Your Horse from Poisoning
Are There Poisonous Plants in Your Horse's Pasture?
Toxic Horse Treats

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Reader Comments

Gee and Haw    North, WY

1/20/2017 7:03:39 AM

Thanks for the useful information. Poison plants are always a worry for horse owners.

pKL    Northern Part, WY

1/15/2017 7:08:42 AM

I am glad the horses do not eat some of these plants, because they grow wild in the pastures.

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

1/25/2015 11:44:40 PM

Great to know.

Cindy    Vincennes, IN

1/22/2015 7:06:18 PM

I had to look up about honeysuckle. Horses eating some is ok but in large quantities-no. My horses can get to a single bush that's grown over the fence. Oh the gas they pass lol!

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