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Fast growing horse safe shade trees

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  • Fast growing horse safe shade trees

    That will survive in GA

    I want to add some trees to my pastures-give some 'warmth' to look at and of course-shade!

    Suggestions? I will have to buy pretty small so don't want to look at a non-shade twig for 10 years.

  • #2
    Boxelders. LOL. We are overrun with boxelders. They grow like 600 feet per year. If I want more shade for the horses, I just transplant a little seedling and within 2 years it's 15 feet high already. But they are weedy, parasite type trees. Not something I'd seriously recommend.

    If you want fast growing, you're going to have weaker wood with a tree that is "less desirably" shaped. Slow growing shade trees like oak and nice maples (not sugar or silver) grow slowly and develop a nice crown. The only way to keep a fast growing tree decently shaped is to have it professionally pruned and shaped the first 5 years or so.

    I've learned to sacrifice a beautiful ball shaped crown for super fast growth because I want lots of trees and lots of shade.

    Edited to add: Oh yeah - I've been pouring manure tea on my trees and they have all shot up like crazy. You take a fresh pile of horse manure, put it in a 5 gallon bucket, and use the garden hose on high pressure. Fill the bucket to the top, stir with a big stick or shovel, and pour on the tree. Follow it with another bucket or two of water to help wash it into the soil.


    • #3
      I did a quick Google search:

      List for GA:


      And a list for Florida:


      I only know that the red maple is a big no-no, you would have to do a bit more research for other trees.
      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


      • #4
        I hate to even *think* of planting them on purpose, but sweet gum trees grow like crazy here...
        ... and Patrick


        • Original Poster

          OHhhh look at the Tulip Poplar and the Royal Empress!!!

          GREAT link MunchkinsMom!


          • #6
            Tulip poplars (actually in the magnolia family) have shallow root systems and will need more TLC than something with a tap root. I've got huge ones here -- too big to reach around. Also, they only have that pretty cone shape when they're young, then they get very tall and cylindrical. If you choose them, you may want to plant some every few years and plan to harvest them for lumber when they get too big.
            ... and Patrick


            • #7
              White or Green Ash as well as River Birch. I've got both here now and I'm astonished at how fast they've grown! Both are harmless to horses also.


              • #8
                Yes, I liked both of those also.

                I'm currently nurturing a few live oak tree saplings that have sprouted in my pasture in various spots where there are currently no trees at all. The are only about 2 feet high right now, but I've noticed they seem to get a growth spurt and I'm picturing beautiful huge oak trees in about 30 years - hahaha. When I say nurturing, I mean just trying to make sure I don't run them over when I am mowing.
                There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                • #9
                  If you're looking for shade, I'd go with poplar.
                  Y'all ain't right!


                  • #10
                    I do not know how they will grow in Georgia but I planted 2 different varieties of Mulberry trees. One is a dark blue berry and the other which grew faster has white berrys on it. I planted them both at the same time and the white berry tree is double the size of the dark berry tree.
                    They grow fast where they get lots of water. But they don't like sitting in water or the roots rot. Allow for their roots to spread too.
                    They grow fast anyway.
                    Lots of shade and the birds love the berrys.


                    • Original Poster

                      Thank you for ALL the suggestions!


                      • #12
                        You might want to check out this site, some folks say that the Royal Empress is an invasive species?

                        There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                        • #13
                          Poplar are great trees. I planted them down the sides of my long driveway at my old house and they grew like crazy. I'm thinking about doing it out at the farm as well.

                          I'm not sure about the growth rate on Mulberry but all of the ones on my farm and big pretty trees. You do have to deal with it staining things purple though or the horses eating all of the berries.
                          Rhode Islands are red;
                          North Hollands are blue.
                          Sorry my thoroughbreds
                          Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :


                          • #14
                            You might want to look at Beech trees. I think they are fairly fast growing. Also second the River Birch...my MIL has one, and it's a beautiful big tree thats about 12 years old.

                            We have a ton of Tulip Poplars around here (state tree), and they are nice trees, but put out a ton of sap in the spring. As in, you park under one for an hour or two, and your car is covered in thousands of tiny, sticky little droplets that take forever to get off. So if your horses will be under them for any periods of time, you might want to plan ahead for a lot of sudsy baths .

                            *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*


                            • Original Poster

                              Wherever I plant them I AM going to fence around them to prevent chewing-but it sounds like sap may be an issue on some!

                              I am SO excited to add some trees to my pastures!!

                              So will I need them close enough to a water source?


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by LMH View Post

                                So will I need them close enough to a water source?
                                Yes, or be able to take the water source to them. My husband made a big tub that sits on the back of the lawnmower that has a gravity fed hose on it. YOu can drive the water around to the trees. I've planted a bunch of nice trees the last few years and water is a HUGE consideration.

                                Or just beef up your muscles carrying 10 gallons at a time.


                                • #17
                                  Birch, ash, some oaks (esp. pin oak). Bradford pears grow like crazy, but they're not very long-lived, mainly because wind will take them out if not properly trimmed. If your ground tends to be wet, willows are great and grow like weeds- I have an unknown upright (not weeping) variety that came with my old farm- I stuck several twigs in the ground at this farm a few years ago and now they're HUGE. I also have a curly willow that I love. Another pretty, fast growing shade tree is the thornless honey locust - I'd love to plant a few but I never find them in the bargain department- being cheap, I've never paid more than $12 for a treeling.


                                  • #18
                                    Water source? Mother Nature! I've only watered mine when I plant them and maybe a couple more times if doesn't rain in the first week or so after planting. The only trees I've lost are the tiny little things that I accidentally mowed.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Great-I have a gator and a water container with a gravity fed hose-so if rain is lacking...


                                      • #20

                                        Get the kind genetically bred to branch out to have a nice canopy, instead of the weed cylinder shape. Oh lordie... you planted mulberry? You will have zillions soon... basically wherever a bird poops. And red maple is poisonous to horses.

                                        Try a website called/for "fast growing trees".