View Full Version : Can horses be turned out on a Christmas tree farm?

Jun. 17, 2012, 09:47 PM
We have found a property that has 6 acres, close to our jobs and school and a nice house. The catch is that about 3 acres of the property was a Christmas tree farm that has been left to grow. There are "holiday worthy" sized trees up to mature pines.
The trees are spaced fairly far apart and have decent grass around them. Could the horses be turned out amongst the trees until we can afford to get them all removed? Will they eat the bark or needles if given hay as well?
I know yews are poisonous and I saw a couple that will have to go right away but are any of the other spruces or pines dangerous?

Jun. 17, 2012, 10:22 PM
Our former farm in TN had a couple of acres of planted Christmas trees. My ponies loved to hang out among them as they helped to keep the bugs away. We never had a problem with them eating the bark or pine needles. I wish I had some on my new farm in SC!

Jun. 17, 2012, 10:23 PM
My parents' place was an old Christmas tree farm (pines). A small portion (1/4 -1/2 acre) of the pasture includes the fringes of the trees. The horses never seemed to have any issues other than occasionally coming in with sap on them when they were itchy and rubbed on trees. I actually think it was great for the horses because they had to learn to dodge while running ;). And then as trees aged (the pasture went in 25 years ago) and branches came down, they had to learn to jump. Great for all around fitness!

I don't even think any of my horses ever even came in with a splinter.

Jun. 17, 2012, 10:39 PM
depending on the 'pine' trees.

My sister's horses in separate occasions stripped pines clean. One was about a 5 footer....nothing but the very top left, and that horses was standing ankle deep in fresh grass...the others were mature trees, bark stripped. But those were in the dirt lot turnout....

It can go either way.

Most pines are not bad for horses. But some are not good.

Jun. 18, 2012, 08:03 AM
with horses and we never had any problems - in summer they would usually find a small tree that they could use to scratch itchy bellies on and they would stand in a line for their turn at that tree - needless to say that one would be wrecked after a summer of scritching........never had any problems with eating trees and we had about a dozen different varieties....did have a problem with pine sap on neck or butt sometimes from scratching - a little rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover would get rid of that - but that was it

Jun. 18, 2012, 04:37 PM
If "Christmas" trees (aka firs, spruce, etc.) were a problem, the Pacific Northwest would not have the sizable horse population that it has. Like Aponi, the worst problem we've had is pitch from rubbing on the trunks.

Newly planted seedlings, however, would not fare as well. When we first brought Mingus home, we had a baby Douglas Fir in his corral -- it was just the right height to make the perfect -- uh -- nether regions scratcher. The tree did not benefit from the experience.

If you're not planning on selling them as Christmas trees, you might want to limb up at least some of the trees -- the lower limbs on a fir can take up a LOT of space.

Jun. 18, 2012, 10:48 PM
i cant imagine a horse wanting to eat a pine tree, i have tonnes in my paddocks and none of the horses have ever touched them, the goats on the other hand killed the little ones and stripped the bigs ones they could get to. but are you sure they are pine trees? have never herd of anyone having a pine tree for a christmas tree lol
anyways my horses have never touch the fir trees either :)

Jun. 19, 2012, 06:02 AM
There are mostly white pines and blue spruce.

Jun. 19, 2012, 06:36 AM
Every year after Christmas my horses are tossed an x-Christmas tree or two into their paddock. They promptly remove every inch of bark (and all the needles) and I am left with a bald trunk and a bunch of stumps where branches used to be.

Now this is winter time and they have a round bale, which is probably not as exciting as grass so that might be why.

There is a boarding barn near me that fenced in areas that used to have pines in them. Note I said used to.

It must depend on the horses and their preference for chewing material.

Jun. 19, 2012, 10:03 AM
I planted a 20 foot white pine along the dry lot fence (outside) for shade, and my gold pony promptly ate all the branches she could reach through the coated tensile fence :mad::mad: I then added electric the next day...

Granted, they were in the 'starvation pen', but really....I was under the impression that pine would be nasty tasting, but apparently not.

Jun. 19, 2012, 02:01 PM
now im just curious do people actually buy pine trees for christmas trees??

Jun. 20, 2012, 12:10 AM
Fraggle Rock, may I ask, generally, where you live? In New England, I know plenty of people who buy pine trees for Christmas. Not everyone buys a fir tree. Pine tree covers somewhere between 105-125 species of trees, including those used as Christmas trees (Scots pine, white pine, etc). The white pines are my favorite! That, and not everyone wants to shell out the bucks for a nice fir tree. Some of them are pretty much at the top of the price range here.

From Wikipedia: A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually an evergreen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evergreen) conifer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conifer) such as pine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine) or fir (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fir), traditionally associated with the celebration of Christmas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas). An artificial Christmas tree (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_Christmas_tree) is an object made to resemble such a tree, usually made from polyvinyl chloride (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinyl_chloride) (PVC).

The only problem I had with horses on a tree farm was when I was riding though one and the horse decided to high tail it for the barn. It was a heck of a flying ride around the trees, but we made it home safe and sound! :)

Jun. 20, 2012, 12:59 AM
Fraggle Rock, may I ask, generally, where you live? In New England, I know plenty of people who buy pine trees for Christmas. Not everyone buys a fir tree.

I think (?) Fraggle may be wondering if anyone actually buys real trees (pine or otherwise) any more as opposed to fake ones that you assemble every year. Ugh.

Jun. 20, 2012, 07:10 AM
i definately always have a real tree :) even when i lived with some one who was allergic i said suck it up and got one anyways! im in nova scotia and no i dont know anyone who has ever bought a pine tree for a christmas tree and have never herd of them being sold as christmas trees.

Jun. 20, 2012, 08:26 AM
I know deer will eat bark from white pines, but I don't think anything will eat a spruce or fir. For one thing, the branches are too dense for a horse to get anywhere close to the trunk.

Jun. 20, 2012, 10:51 AM

christmas tree species.

Jun. 20, 2012, 12:06 PM
Wow, Wendy, great website that can help me I'd the trees! Interesting ranking as well.

Jun. 20, 2012, 12:07 PM
Oops supposed to say "ID".....Silly spell check.