Looking for Colorful Trees, Safe for Horse Pasture

june-bugAugust 1, 2010

Zone 5

I need to add color to my property. All my trees turn yellow in the fall. I love sugar and red maples but know red maples can be deadly to horses. I love the dark purple or burgundy leaves of anything all summer long and lime or chartruese too.

Can anyone suggest more horse safe trees to add color to my zone 5, sandy, fast draining property?

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Trees that I know of that are reliably red aside from red maple which you cant use are oaks such as northern red, scarlet and shumard. Blackgum is also red. Sassafras is a mix, orangey in my area.
I do not know of their toxicity to horses but these are plentiful here next door to a horse farm. (Then again so are red maple.)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 8:01PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

If Nyssa Sylvatica (probably called black gum there) is safe for horses it is an excellent tree. Whenever I see one in the fall I am AMAZED.

I'd order a dozen or more from your conservation department. Of everything I transplant I find this the most difficult for some reason.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 10:34PM
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The red oaks are a good choice and yes mature black gum trees are stunning in the fall season.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 8:55AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Lucky needs to see this question....our resident tree guru and veterinary expert. Cuzin Lucky, where the heck are you?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 9:09AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Ask your vet.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 1:20PM
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(Hey, cuz'n D!)

Red maple definitely a no-no; some info suggests silver may be a problem. Sugar maple pretty well agreed not to be a problem.
I've seen published reports of acorn poisoning(kidney damage) in horses, but have not seen a case, in person, in over 30 years of veterinary practice & diagnostics (geez, I'm gettin' old); I'd hazard a guess that acorns of the white oak group would pose more of a problem than those of the red oak group - mainly because they'd be more likely to consume them in large quantities.
Native black cherry, P.serotina - and probably any other Prunus species - can be toxic if the animals consume the leaves in wilted state, as in cases where a limb blows out, or the tree breaks over.
No other natives that necessarily pose a problem in and of themselves.

Truthfully, the horses usually pose more danger to trees in the pasture than the other way around. You'll definitely need to surround the trees with an exclusion fence. Horses will walk through lush grass & clover to chomp the central leader out of a young sapling, and there's nothing they like to to better than stand around in the shade of a nice tree, eating all the bark off, as high as they can reach.

Blackgum certainly tops the list of red fall color trees here. Scarlet oak(Q.alba) and white oak(Q.alba) are also 'can't miss' reds; Q.rubra, not so dependable, in my experience. Compton oak(hybrid of overcup and Southern Live oak) has had smashing red fall color here most years. I have a couple of American persimmon selections(Wabash & Redland Rd) that have dependable great red-purple fall color.
Although it's one of my most despised native trees, I will acquiesce to the fact that sweetgum often has tremendous fall color - sometimes a full rainbow present in the same tree.
American Smoketree(Cotinus obovatus)and American hornbeam(Carpinus caroliniana) are two smaller trees that really put on a great fall color show, but have been slow-growers for me.
Lime-green? Pecan fits that bill, unless you fertilize fairly heavily; no appreciable fall color, though - but tasty nuts, and most seedlings have good branch structure.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 8:23PM
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Thanks guys.
Any suggestions for summer color too? Isn't there a red bud that has dark red or purple leaves?

(Jean001, my vet studied animals not trees.)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 8:37PM
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Maybe my original post was too confusing. ;)

I want to add trees with more color. I cannot have red maple as these will be adjacent to a horse pasture which can be deadly.
I would love dark red or purple and chartreuse leaves during the summer. I also need fall colors other than yellow.

Thanks Lucky on the sugar maple okay. I love sugar maples and smoke trees.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 9:00PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Ummmmm, June-bug....a good vet should be well acquainted with the various relationships of different animals and plants. Horses are notoriously sensitive to a surprisingly wide variety of plants, including trees. That's why I hoped that Lucky would see this post. He's a Veterinary Pathologist.

A vet is the FIRST person I would have thought to ask.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 10:32PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' Redbud is what you're thinking of I would guess?

I've seen some planted in suburban lots and in small bank parking lot planters which look pretty well. MOBOT calls them zone 5 tolerant.

Not a big tree but an attention getter. Don't know if your horses would eat them or not. Some "odd color" trees seem obnoxious, this one blends in well in my opinion.

Here is a link that might be useful: MOBOT page on Forest Pansy

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 2:04AM
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acer(6b western NC)

I agree with blackgum for excellent color, although I hear they're slow growers. I just picked up 2 nice ones at our local (Asheville, NC) Sam's Club for $11 apiece. Score!
I also recommend sourwood for excellent orange/red, and hickory for a beautiful clear yellow color.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 10:37AM
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Wow, Is it the heat?

I don't understand why folks assume I didn't think to consult with a vet 1st. I have a list of plants toxic to horses. To clarify, I always consult with my vet 1st and even Mich State.
Just thought I would check with garden folks for variety suggestions. Like I said, perhaps I should have worded my original post better like:

"Need colorful tree suggesions other than red maple."

Yes, Tornado, Forest Pansy was what I was thinking.
Thanks again all and let's drink a cool one.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 3:46PM
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The vet probably said to go look it up on the internet. Am I right?

I can't even get a vet to recommend a brand of dog food. I can't imagine what they'd say if I asked for a tree with a specific shade of fall leaf color.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 5:02PM
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Most any large animal veterinarian should be able - pretty much off the top of their head - to give his/her clients a short list of potentially toxic trees/plants to avoid planting where their animals can reach them.
Now, those of us who could recommend suitable landscape plantings, based on color, rate of growth, habit, etc., are probably quite a bit rarer.

Dog food? We feed Purina - but only because my wife - the other veterinarian in the family - won't let me feed Ol' Roy. I'd say any 'name-brand' dog food would be suitable for your average dog. Off-brands *should* be, but perhaps not.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 5:50PM
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This all started because *somebody* who shall remain nameless... replied simply to "ask your vet."

So if june-bug asked their vet, they'd get some printout of some list of trees that were not toxic. Or are toxic. They probably already have this like they said. They are here asking for some red or purple fall color. I don't know what is toxic but I do know fall color.

I think it was a lucky coincidence (no pun) that there is a vet on this forum that happens to have an in depth knowledge of trees and fall color. It's a good thing june bug asked her question here. It was thoroughly answered. Success!

As for Purina, I'm frankly astonished that you're recommending what is essentially a sack of cornmeal mixed with ground godknowswhat. Poultry byproduct. Yeuch..
That's a topic for another day. Back to horsey trees.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 8:43PM
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I'm making no recommendations on dog food, but grandma's mischaracterization of Purina feeds is off-base.
Whether it's Purina, Iams, Hills, etc., those 'name-brand' folks have devoted $$$ and years of ongoing research and feeding trials to ensure that their animal feeds provide a nutritionally balanced, healthful diet for peoples' pets.
Yes, corn and poultry byproduct meal are the main ingredients, but it's much more than cornmeal and poultry byproduct. You could use other ingredients, but it wouldn't necessarily be affordable for the general public, and it's far better for your pet than table scraps.

Purple-leaved trees during the growing season? I'm not a fan - I can name a dozen, but will leave those recommendations to folks who find 'em appealing.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 12:20AM
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"Purple-leaved trees during the growing season? I'm not a fan - I can name a dozen, but will leave those recommendations to folks who find 'em appealing."

Aww come on you big tease!

Ya'll can thank me on the humidity drop. I bought 2 fans and another window ac this week.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:30AM
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Royal Purple smoketree.
I find them appealing and they're easy to grow. The red leaved redbuds people are talking about (forest pansy) are nice but they are understory trees and do better at the edge of the woods to retain their color and their leaves and live as long as possible). One you may find attractive and easy to get ahold of is purple leaf plum. But as tempting as it may be these are not good trees and shouldn't be planted IMO.

Ok lucky, lets rip open this can of worms.
There are plenty of other affordable dog food that have better ingredients than purina. They did get rather pricey towards the latter part of 2008 which I think was due to high freight costs and demand but prices on the higher quality food have dropped and it's become much easier to find.

I gather that the reason many vets don't suggest dog food brands is because their practice deals pretty much exclusively with science diet. I don't know if this is true or not but it seems to be corroborated by multiple sources... but apparently the company that make science diet (Hills?) somehow funds the education of many vets.

But this is the first time I've ever heard of a vet recommending the cheapest, lowest quality dog food that is available.

The price of a bag of kibble may at first seem like a bargain if it's half the price of another bag of kibble but when you have to feed twice as much of it (or more) to get the same nutritional value, it's not a bargain at all.

The kibble I use contains a great deal of, if not mostly meat... Deboned turkey and chicken and turkey and chicken meal. There are no grains which is good for a dog with food allergy. Potatoes are the primary carb. The ingredients are not byproducts of manufacturing other products they are original ingredients.

The only possible meat source in your purina, "possible" being the operative word, is chicken byproduct meal.

You said there is much more inside purina. What would that be? The ground up remains of euthanized animals? Cow hooves? Chinese drywall? What?

Don't take this reply as being argumentative or emotional. I'm trying to understand. I'm still kind of in disbelief that you use such a low quality feed. It's the same feeling I got when I called up the horticulturist at my local ag extension and she recommended that I plant callery pears.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:32AM
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opening can.....Oh no you di-ih-uhnt! (how is that spelled anyway?) .
BTW thanks for watching my back on the ask your vet.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 12:12PM
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I'm not trying to be argumentative, either.
Probably ought to do this as a PM or in a different thread, but I don't know where it would fit - certainly not here in the Trees Forum.

As a pathologist at a state university-affiliated veterinary diagnostic lab, I'm in a public service position; I don't sell any service or product, I don't receive any profit from selling Science Diet, Iams, or any other dog food, and I'm not really recommending any.
I don't see many issues related to pets consuming commercially-available pet foods - though the Chinese melamine thing, back in 2007 was very interesting, and we did see lots of dogs back in the late '80s that presented with the complaint of 'eating dirt' - and they were invariably being fed JOY dogfood; it was 'missing' something.

Folks are occasionally taken aback at this, but I did not grow up in a family where we had 'pets' - yes, we had hunting dogs, but no real pets - I guess my horses met that qualification moreso than any dog or cat. It's a DOG. It's not my child.
You're probably saying, "God, I'm glad HE's not MY vet!" - and I'm probably saying, at the same time, "God, I'm glad I'm not HER vet!" But if you were my client, you'd have loved me, 'cause I'm fun, and I can be very empathetic, even though I don't get those warm, fuzzy feelings about a dog, cat, rat, etc. If you need a diagnosis, I'm your man. I'm much more satisfied doing necropsies and reading biopsies, and letting my colleagues deal with the owners.

We currently have a couple of dogs and a cat at home, but my world would be just fine if they were all gone tomorrow.
I'm principally a large/food animal practitioner at heart, and while I learned all the general stuff about dog and cat diseases - and worked on my share of them for years, when I was in practice, I'm just not into the whole 'human-animal bond' thing with small animals. But I do like my cows, and enjoyed my goats, when I had 'em.

Purina's fine for most dogs; heck, Ol' Roy is fine for most dogs. Any of the name-brand dog foods will do just fine for most average dogs, as they all meet the NRC recommendations for dietary requirements and balance.

What else is in there?
Whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), meat and bone meal, brewers rice, soybean meal, whole grain wheat, egg and chicken flavor, animal digest, salt, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, calcium phosphate, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, added color (Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 2), DL-Methionine, Vitamin E supplement, zinc proteinate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, brewers dried yeast, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, copper proteinate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate, Vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium iodate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.

You mentioned euthanized animals and cow hooves; no, euthanized animals are not allowed into the rendering chain, and renderers have not accepted dog/cat/wildlife/goat/sheep carcasses for nearly 25 years or more - and since Apr 2009, no materials from cattle 30 months of age or older have been allowed for ANY animal feed, regardless of species - what a huge waste of a useful resource.
But, 'meat & bone meal' and 'animal digest' are, indeed, byproducts of the rendering process.

If your dog has an issue - allergy, renal disease, etc., then by all means, feed something different, and I'll readily admit that Hill's/Science Diet has some of the best foods on the market for those animals with various ailments, and they've spent many years and millions of $$ making sure that they meet the needs of those health-challenged pets. And yes, Hill's has had a close working relationship with most of the American veterinary colleges and veterinary practitioners for decades; they've trumpeted that fact; it doesn't mean the Science Diet foods are not good, or that there's anything sinister about the association they have with veterinarians.

Purple-leaved trees.
OK, Forest Pansy redbud is not too bad. I've seen a few nice purple European beeches. I like Loropetalum - and I've seen some nice big, old ones that approach small tree stature. Some of the rosybloom crabs have a lot going for them, and some stay some shade of green-purple pretty far into the season. There are even purple-leafed Nyssa sylvatica and Juglans regia selections out there, if you can find it.
The purple-leaf plums and the purple Norway maples(is that Crimson King?) just look like a black thumb in the landscape to me; even the purple beeches don't look right in some settings. But, if you like 'em, go for it; that's my list - probably forgot one or two - like that god-forsaken 'chocolate' Albizia(dang, why'd I put that in there?)

I'm done.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 6:01PM
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I forgot all about lorapetalum and purple beech. Those are nice too if climate supports either.

As for dog food, if your goal is to just keep your dog(s) alive, and are willing to roll the dice on Chinese melamine, then Purina is probably acceptable.
So you listed the ingredients. I don't see anything in there that I would consider to be good ingredients, let alone the food coloring. I can't imagine why that is needed.

If your goal is to have a healthier, happier pet then it's not a good choice. If feeding your dog a kibble that actually has some meat in it means they will live just 6 months longer, wouldn't it be worth it no matter the cost?

I have a neighbor who's a DVM btw. She doesn't have any pets. She doesn't work at a vets office but some research lab. I would be surprised if she could recommend a dog food brand so I see where you're coming from.

I don't know what your dog(s) mean to you. Whether they are like family members like my dogs are to me or whether they are just out in the barn to keep the horses company. Either way, I think you should switch your dog food. If you've never tried a kibble that actually has meat in it, I know you'll be pleasantly surprised. Healthier coats, more energy. You may spend more for it initially, but you won't have to feed as much. You also won't have to "clean up" as much if you catch my drift.
You may even save money. Less vet bills too... for people that aren't vets.

If you want to continue this, meet me in the parking lot. Oops. Err, I mean meet me in the pets forum.

I won't try to talk you into buying any particular brand. I just want you to switch to something with some meat in it.

I believe it's spelled Oh no you di'int. I'm glad to have stood up for you.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 8:54PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

This is the most I ever read about dogfood! The off topic conversations do not bother me in the least. In print if I'm bored with something I can go to the next page.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:06PM
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Well they bother me. Hijacking a thread like I just did is poor netiquette and taking it to the appropriate forum is the right thing to do imo.

So I have started a new thread in the gardenweb/the home site pets forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: I started a new topic, lucky please join me if you'd like

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 9:32AM
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Hey, I didn't even know there was a pet section. Yep, people used to feed dogs leftovers and scraps.
Lucky, so the crimson king is okay because it is a norway maple? Is it the Acer Maples then to beware of?
See that's what I was looking for.
Thanks again all.
Lucky, I loved my goats too.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 4:15PM
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Norway maple is a member of the genus Acer. Whether or not it's 'OK' is up for debate. IMO, that whole species is an undesirable invasive alien.
Red maple, Acer rubrum, is a known hazard to horses; there's been some intimation that silver maple *may* not be entirely safe. Who knows about the A.x freemanii hybrids, like Autumn Blaze, that have A.rubrum as a parent?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 5:57PM
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Thanks again Lucky.
My mare is 27 yrs old and more than likely will never be exposed to anything I plant.
I was just thinking of anyone that may want the propery in the future . ...thinking of the horses.

We have many silver maples as well as neighbors with several horses and no problem. uh oh.....wait a minute they have had at least 3 foals born with problems....they were blaming it on west nile vaccine. Lucky you there?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 11:34PM
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IF silver maples were a problem - we know red maple is, and I've seen reports suggesting that silver maple *might* be; both silver and sugar maple leaves contain gallic acid, which is thought to be the toxic component - it's unlikely that they have any connection to problems with foals.
Red maple toxicity causes hemolytic anemia and hemoglobinuric kidney failure.

grandma, I won't be joining in the discussion at the Pets Forum - I swore off that one over a decade ago.
I did visit your thread though, you're not getting much support, so far.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 5:20PM
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OK. I still urge you to try some better food for a while and make up your own mind whether it is just hype or if there really is something to it. You have nothing to lose.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 9:38AM
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