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View Full Version : Tell me about Black Walnut Trees and Horses



crazypaintrider
Dec. 17, 2009, 11:00 PM
I am hoping to fence in my backyard when I bring my mare home from college. I mentioned that on the edge of the area that I hope to put her has at least one black walnut tree in it to a friend, her response was that black walnut trees are poisonous to horses.
I tried doing some research on this topic, but I haven't been able to come up with much. (I must not be looking in the right places)

There is at least one black walnut tree along the perceived fence line, but I believe there is another in the area too, close enough that leaves etc could blow into the pasture.

I do not know if I would be able to remove said tree(s), since it is my parents property.

How poisonous are black walnut trees to horses? What part(s) are poisonous? Suggestions? Thanks a bunch.

ksojerio
Dec. 17, 2009, 11:10 PM
I have heard that, too.

If I remember correctly, several years ago William Woods University rec'd a load of shavings that was contaminated with black walnut. Several horse got sick and I believe they may have lost a couple of them.

JSwan
Dec. 17, 2009, 11:23 PM
Don't cut it down and you'll be fine.

The substance is called juglone; and it is in Black Walnut and Butternut trees.

Livestock have grazed around and under them for hundreds of years.

It is the fresh sawdust that is the problem. Leave the tree intact and it will provide shade for your horse.

Hope that helps.

I googled some info on Black Walnut and Butternut for you (not sure if you have Butternut out there -they look similar)

http://www.wvu.edu/~Agexten/hortcult/fruits/blkwalnt.htm (http://www.wvu.edu/%7EAgexten/hortcult/fruits/blkwalnt.htm)

http://www.gardenguides.com/taxonomy/butternut-juglans-cinerea/

jaimebaker
Dec. 17, 2009, 11:27 PM
Black walnut trees are highly toxic to horses. I had an acquaintance that almost lost a horse because the pine shavings she had bought had black walnut shavings mixed in. Caused SEVERE rotation of the horses feet. She may have had to put the horse to sleep, I'm not sure.

There's plenty on the internet. Google 'black walnut toxicity horses' and you'll find plenty.

If you cut the trees, you have to remove all shavings from the area. Your best bet is to fence off the tree. I have several black walnut trees in my pastures. They aren't fenced off but I have gone out and picked up the walnuts. Not real positive, but it's the oil that does the damage, so I'm thinking stepping on enough walnuts would contain enough oil to do damage. If you've ever handled them you know the outer cover of the nut is very oily and leaves a horrible residue.

ttldr1
Dec. 17, 2009, 11:52 PM
Black Walnut trees are not toxic. Black Walnut tree shavings are highly toxic. As long as you don't cut the tree down or trim it back in anyway it should not be a problem. If you do need to trim it back due to a broken branch or the likes you have to keep the horses away from any shavings that get on the ground. Took one that died out of a friends pasture a couple of years ago and moved all cut branches away from pasture, then raked all the shavings into a small pile and burned them as well as the ground where they had fallen, watered down well and did not let the horses back in that pasture until there weere a couple of good soaking rains.

crazypaintrider
Dec. 18, 2009, 12:26 AM
Thank you all.

Where the tree is would be in what I'd eventually turn into my ring or riding area. I would be able to fence the area around the tree off. And clean up all of the nuts and tree branches that are sure to fall.

Are there any other nut trees or other trees that I should be aware of?

Unfortunately my parents place is across the country from where my horse and I are.

TrueColours
Dec. 18, 2009, 07:55 AM
We have HUNDREDS and I actually mean THOUSANDS of BW trees all over our property and many if not all of them border my hay fields and pastures and sacrifice turnout paddocks

I dont worry at all about the nuts, other than a) they are a total PITA and b) a horse might step on one and bruise a sole. I dont worry about the branches dropping in or getting mixed with a bale of hay as those branches were dead anyhow

We have cut many many of them down surrounding the paddocks and hay fields and are just very careful about cleaning up the area well

I have boarded at places in the past with BW trees and it totally freaked me out in the beginning as well, but I have now made peace with the fact that dozens and dozens of horses passed through those properties on a yearly basis and none were ever affected by the BW trees. Not at all, even one iota ...

And 3 years later, not one of my horses has ever come close to foundering or being affected either and in many cases, the BW trees are like 8-10 feet away and the nuts and branches are dropping right into their paddocks

Try to keep the branches trimmed and try and do it in the fall when the toxins are going back down to root level for the winter and you should be fine as well ...:)

ChocoMare
Dec. 18, 2009, 07:59 AM
We have HUNDREDS and I actually mean THOUSANDS of BW trees all over our property and many if not all of them border my hay fields and pastures and sacrifice turnout paddocks

I dont worry at all about the nuts, other than a) they are a total PITA and b) a horse might step on one and bruise a sole. I dont worry about the branches dropping in or getting mixed with a bale of hay as those branches were dead anyhow

We have cut many many of them down surrounding the paddocks and hay fields and are just very careful about cleaning up the area well

I have boarded at places in the past with BW trees and it totally freaked me out in the beginning as well, but I have now made peace with the fact that dozens and dozens of horses passed through those properties on a yearly basis and none were ever affected by the BW trees. Not at all, even one iota ...

And 3 years later, not one of my horses has ever come close to foundering or being affected either and in many cases, the BW trees are like 8-10 feet away and the nuts and branches are dropping right into their paddocks

Try to keep the branches trimmed and try and do it in the fall when the toxins are going back down to root level for the winter and you should be fine as well ...:)

Yeah, what she said! :yes:

We have 8 BW trees in the middle pasture where we board. Aside from the Walking On Giant Marbles PAIN IN THE BUTT when the trees drop said black walnut hulls :winkgrin:, they're just trees to us and the horses.

Don't not to worry :D

Beethoven
Dec. 18, 2009, 12:48 PM
Had one at one of the barns I boarded at, and it was fine! It was near parking lot so mostly the nuts fell in there. I remember one time my horse was impatiently waiting while I was talking to the vet and he decided to try to eat a nut. I removed it before he even got it beyond his front teeth, but didn't have an ill effects from getting a BW nut in his mouth!

TrueColours
Dec. 18, 2009, 01:05 PM
I removed it before he even got it beyond his front teeth, but didn't have an ill effects from getting a BW nut in his mouth!


He wouldnt either. The worst he might do is choke on it if it wedged in his throat!!! :lol:

The toxins arent in the nuts - they are most concentrated in the roots ...

LauraKY
Dec. 18, 2009, 01:32 PM
There are many landscape trees and bushes that are poisonous to horses. Two of the worst are red maples and wild cherry leaves when they are wilted. I would remove both if you think the leaves could end up in a pasture during a storm. Another is yew bushes. Be very careful when trimming; make sure you remove all cut branches. Lots more, but to my mind, in my area, they are the worst.

Several good books out there about plants poisonous to horses, as well as lots of info on the internet. Just google it.

goodhors
Dec. 18, 2009, 02:17 PM
Have to disagree on this point. Jugalone is in ALL parts of the BW tree, leaves, nuts, roots, bark and wood. Master Gardener class covered that because not removing leaves can sour the ground for gardens later. DO NOT put BW or Butternut leaves in the compost pile for the garden, Jugalone remains and sours the compst.

Reading the above posts of happy owners, it does SOUND like the horses have PLENTY of room to move around their BW trees. Having room to eat elsewhere, LOTS of food all the time, keeps the bored horses away from plants and trees that are not good for them.

The hungry, bored with no grazing, horse in small paddock, is who will be chewing on BW stuff. Same with having Cherry trees in the pasture, they ignore them because horse can do other stuff instead of stuffing themselves onthe dried leave, chewing the wood. Dried Cherry leaves are extremely toxic, but horses ignore them with other food available. Poison weeds also are usually ignored if horse has other food or space to go eat elsewhere.

So you would want to look around the future paddock area, see how much else can horse graze on, move about, before the BW is a target of boredom.

In tests, only takes about a TABLESPOON or less of BW sawdust injested, to get into bad reaction with horse and laminitus. Totally agree with reactions mentioned from BW mixed into sawdust bedding. Gets jugalone absorbed into the system thru skin and hooves.

And SEASONAL tree chewing, should be considered. Mine don't bother trees until the fall and winter with short daylight hours, not much in grazing. Body systems seem to DEMAND woody browse, logs to gnaw on. I usually throw over safe type logs, willow, brush trimmings of honeysuckle, for just gnawing on in paddocks. I have to fence off my tree corner to keep trees alive thru winter and spring.

Perhaps having a treeless dry lot for winter would be helpful. Parents may not like having their trees chewed and killed anyway, and BW would be out of reach thru winter times. And having a horse in a treed lot can cause a GREAT deal of damage in a VERY short time. Hooves compacting the dirt around roots is also quite harmful to the trees in wet weather.

crazypaintrider
Dec. 19, 2009, 04:16 PM
The lot itself has about 3 trees in it. One is a persimmon. The black walnut is on what would be the fenceline, and most of the trees are on the fence line including one of the black walnuts. It was part of an old cow pasture. The second bw is on my neighbor's property. So I wouldn't be able to remove that one.

I planned to have the area that would be closer to the bw as a ring/riding area, and only graze the horses in there during the summer.

EqTrainer
Dec. 19, 2009, 04:55 PM
I know someone who has paddocks where there are black walnut tree *roots*. One of her ponies cannot be turned out there; she shows signs of toxicity pretty quickly. Maybe she chews on them, who knows. Freaky, huh?!!!

mhtokay
Dec. 19, 2009, 07:38 PM
We removed several black walnut trees when we moved here because they were right next to the barn and future paddocks. I called the county extension office and they said all parts of the tree are poisonous. I wouldn't worry about them in a large pasture, though.

KnKShowmom
Dec. 19, 2009, 08:40 PM
I asked my vet about my BW trees and he said to leave them alone and the horses would be fine but if I cut them down or trimmed them up I would need to keep the horses away from that area.

I have left them alone and the horses love the shade. We pick up the nuts a few times a week and raked the leaves but thats all.

Oak trees are much more of a problem IMO than BW trees

Zu Zu
Dec. 19, 2009, 09:31 PM
My vet says just the shavings ~trees will not be a problem.

My Two Cents
Dec. 20, 2009, 12:47 AM
For what it's worth. There have been horses around our walnut trees for over a hundred years and our oldest living family member (almost 80) has no recollection of a horse ever having a problem due to the walnut trees on this farm. Not to say that there couldn't ever be a problem but intact trees don't appear to commonly cause problems. There are other plants I would be more concerned with.

This is from Merckvetmanual.com. It has lots of other poisonous plants.

http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/servlet/CVMHighLight?file=htm/bc/ttox04.htm&word=black,walnut


Juglans nigra Black walnut


Native to eastern USA; now from eastern seacoast, west to Michigan and most of the Midwest, south to Georgia and Texas Horses Tree with deciduous, alternate, pinnately compound leaves (numerous lanceolate leaflets with serrated margins); leaflets in middle are largest. Male and female flowers on same tree but different inflorescences. Thick husked nut does not open when ripe. Twigs have chambered pith. Juglone, phenolic derivative of naphthoquinone. Shavings with as little as 20% black walnut toxic within 24 hr of exposure. Reluctance to move; depression; increased temperature, pulse, respiration rate, abdominal sounds, digital pulse, hoof temperature; distal limb edema; lameness. Severe laminitis with continued exposure. Nonfatal; laminitis and edema of lower limbs. Remove shavings promptly. Treat for limb edema and laminitis. Improvement in 24-48 hr with no sequelae.

Peggy
Dec. 20, 2009, 01:44 AM
Are some horses more susceptible than others?

My dad used to give me the shavings/sawdust that he generated from woodworking to use as bedding for my horse. He did a project with black walnut wood, we bedded the horse on the resulting sawdust/shavings and she suffered no ill effects. We didn't know about the BW toxicity at the time or obviously we wouldn't have used them. Someone told us later than some horses have a bad reaction and others don't, but I never verified this.

I suppose it's also possible that the levels of jugalone were lower in the wood as compared to the trees so the resultant sawdust had a lower concentration.

TrueColours
Dec. 20, 2009, 08:46 AM
Peggy - the fellow (arborist) that came last year and culled trees from our woodlots on the property asked me if I wanted the limbs to make shavings for the horses - they could also rent me a chipper that would render a shaving from them

I said "NO!!! There is going to be a lot of BW in there!" and he looked at me like I was nuts and said that he has been doing this for 20 or 30 years, and most clients with horses, opt to do so, they get a nice big free pile of shavings out of the deal and not one has ever had problems with BW mixed in there and again I said thanks but no thanks - I dont want even one SMIDGEN of BW shavings coming near my horses ...

So maybe only SOME horses react to them and not all for some reason??? :confused:

LauraKY
Dec. 20, 2009, 02:07 PM
I remember reading somewhere that black walnut trees can have varying amounts of jugalone. Will try to find the reference. That would explain a lot, if it's true.

JSwan
Dec. 20, 2009, 02:32 PM
Peggy -

Lumber used for woodworking has usually been dried/seasoned for an extended period of time (even years)

It is possible that the tree didn't have much to begin with, or it may be possible that the well seasoned dried wood simply had little to no juglone left in it.

Shavings and sawdust on the other hand, are usually from mills milling fresh trees. They may be a bit drier than a freshly cut tree - but not by much. The risk is tremendous with any freshly cut wood.

Not saying it's ok to use walnut shavings from woodworking operations.







My dad used to give me the shavings/sawdust that he generated from woodworking to use as bedding for my horse. He did a project with black walnut wood, we bedded the horse on the resulting sawdust/shavings and she suffered no ill effects.

Dazednconfused
Dec. 20, 2009, 03:05 PM
Oak trees are much more of a problem IMO than BW trees

Er - any particular reason? ???

wateryglen
Dec. 20, 2009, 04:09 PM
Acorns!
My horses eat the leaves from time to time and are fine. They leave the nuts alone. I have about 40 trees on 23 acres. No problems at all. Nuts/leaves drop into water trough even and I just fish them out. Horses like water even when its brown. I wouldn't worry a bit.

Do a search on this and you'll learn more too. Been covered before!

danosaur
Dec. 20, 2009, 04:54 PM
BW has definitely been known to cause founder.
so if you have the option of fencing them off and making sure the horses can't go near it, just do that.
you really don't want to take a chance with something like founder.

Zu Zu
Dec. 20, 2009, 07:22 PM
My vet said just the shavings are the worry not the trees - we have never had any problem with horses all ages, types being in pastures with Black Walnut Trees - I did board at a barn in St. Louis where they received some shavings with black walnut in them -:eek: OH MY !!! I arrived to find all horses beginning to founder- vet was called and we started washing all the horses' bellies and all four legs - all :eek: wash racks going !!! the horses with leather pads did not founder the barefoot ones did founder - we washed all night and put horses in different, empty stalls. The trainer (knowing this was happening went on to the horse show -:eek: just to watch !) I washed horses all night with the hired help ! The barn owner asked me for a ride to the show that night:eek: ~ I stated that I would be washing her clients' horses and would not be going til the next day IF AT ALL. I checked horses again in the am and traveled on to the show. No one apologized to us (the clients) or even said they were sorry and you know what ???:eek::eek: TWO WEEKS LATER THE SAME COMPANY:mad: DELIVERED MORE TOXIC SHAVINGS !!! And the owner said she was worried I was going to file a law suit against her. My horses did not founder - on either occassion (probably because of their leather pads) . The barn owner's broodmare foundered as well as the trainer's favorite lesson horse ~ they did not care ! I MOVED MY HORSES IMMEDIATELY !