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Planting shade trees in pastures

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    Planting shade trees in pastures

    What are your favorite trees to put in a pasture? I'm planning on having a company transplant some rather large trees for shade either this fall or next spring. My horses are only out for a few hours in the summer, so I don't want to put in a shed. I not looking for a list of what I should not plant (I can look those up). I'm wondering why I don't see pine trees/evergreens in pastures? Thanks for your input...

    #2
    For sure stay away from pines, the needles/sap make a mess and will kill the grass.

    Comment


      #3
      Plan to enclose the trees with some kind of fences around each tree. You do not want horses getting close to the trunk to chew on the tree, or compact the dirt on roots. Figure feeder roots will reach out to the tree drip line when roots have regrown after planting trees. That can be a LARGE area! Our biggest tree does not seem bothered by hooves on dirt at the drip line area. Both chewing trunks, standing on the trunk area roots, will kill the trees. Our fences are about 10ft away in all directions, from the tree trunk. Fence has heavy plank type boards that can take being rubbed on without breaking.

      Our biggest tree is a mature White Oak, alread out in the field when we purchased the property. It has the plank enclosure, horses can go all around the tree to stay in the shade. Other trees are more recent plantings, Weeping Willow, Twisted Willow, Tulip Tree (Poplar family ), Burr Oaks, one Blue Sprune in a wet place.. They are not as tall yet, but bigger each year! Started them as seedlings or small saplings. I have one London Plane Tree that is growing well, should get enormous in time! They are a beautiful, large tree, which I figured horses could stay shaded under any time of day. All are enclosed, away from horses touching them. Blue Spruce are getting fungus problems locally, which is killing them, even large, mature trees. I would plant some other kind of pine or spruce if you want some like that.

      So far as I know, all these trees are safe for horses, should any limbs, leaves fall in the pastures, to maybe get chewed on before I found it. Horses are just hard on trees, even with good pastures, so trees have to be protected or they die. I trim off lower branches in cold weather to shape the trees, get branching above the fences to prevent getting chewed on in winter. Shorten the Blue Spruce branches with judicious trimming to encourage thicker branching and leave the trunk entirely covered in branches, going for the Christmas tree look.
      Last edited by goodhors; Jun. 23, 2020, 09:14 PM.

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        #4
        I have a really wonderful river birch that is nowhere close to my "creek" that provides excellent shade. I have the trunk fenced off similarly to how goodhors described above. My two donkeys will sometimes clean up some of the fallen leaves and my giraffe of a mustang will trim the low-hanging branches when they're available. Overall, it's a very attractive tree and it has done quite well for us!
        Brand Loyal
        BLM Mustangs: Smokey, Dollar, & Tanner
        BLM Burros: Radar & Ping

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          #5
          We planted a lot of different oaks, my favorite is live oak, it's evergreen, but also some of the red oaks are nice. And I really like montezuma cypress. Pines don't throw much shade. We have some in the yard but not the pasture. I am in the south so no maples or fir type trees here.

          Comment


            #6
            if I were in an area where the new versions of the American Chestnut would grow that is what I would plant

            https://www.acf.org/me/seed-sales/

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              #7
              In Central Fl. here- All my pastures have various types of Oak trees. Some have few acorns and some are loaded every few years. So that's a consideration as horses can colic from eating too many acorns and some horses get addicted to them so you'll
              have to block access for several months each year.
              What area are you in?
              "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

              Comment


                #8
                We have a few trees in our sacrifice lot for shade and by far their favorite is the Magnolia tree. It smells phenomenal right now as well! They always shelter under it as it's low branches make great shade and cover.

                Comment


                  #9
                  What trees are economical and fast growing for central FL? Live oaks are gorgeous, of course, but So slow growing not likely to provide significant shade in very near future. Looking to add shade for paddocks that are completely treeless. I know sycamores grow fast and tall up north, not sure how well adapted they are to sugar sand. And they are leaf-less all winter. Cherries grow wild like weeds, I know they are supposed to be poisonous but I've had them in fields before without issue...they too lose leaves, but seems like they are the first to bud in early Feb. When we cleared previous property, we left many small water oak saplings and they did reasonably well in 5yrs growth, but ideally would like something a bit bigger.

                  Any new trees would be properly boxed in. And we plan to build run in sheds as well, but land looks naked without trees!
                  A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
                  ? Albert Einstein

                  ~AJ~

                  Comment


                    #10
                    @EventerAJ You can check out how these trees do in Florida, I found them to be safe and fast growing when I researched. Weeping willow, honeylocust, river birch, quaking aspen.

                    For the OP's question, I'd do any of the above, though I did just have two (35 foot tall!) Elm trees transplanted to my pasture. I have some Norfolk maples in my yard, they give lots of shade. Maybe a lot of leaves too.
                    That's fine, many of us have slid down this slippery slope and became very happy (and broke) doing it. We may not have a retirement, but we have memories ...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      We have an enormous, 100+ year old Oregon white oak in our paddock. There was simply no way to avoid having horses near it, given how our property is laid out. 17 years on, it's healthy and happy. We also have a chestnut and a gigantic old crabapple that thankfully they leave totally alone.
                      Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by ClassyJumper View Post
                        For sure stay away from pines, the needles/sap make a mess and will kill the grass.
                        They are also great lightning rods. If horses are standing under them for cover during a storm...no bueno.
                        “My horses are my friends, not my slaves” — Reiner Klimke

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I would skip all Maples in horse areas. With the Acer Rubrum being the poisonous Red Maple, I don't want to chance other maple varieties causing bad reactions in my horses. Their plentiful leaves tend to stay wet, can pack down on lawns, pile up in corners. They can smother grass, gardens if left on over winter.

                          In choosing trees, read the Latin names on tags to keep them straight. Nurseries can name their trees, Sunset, Crimson, etc, but the Latin names stay the same to know exactly which trees you are getting.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            When I was researching, the Norfolk maple seemed to be the only one that was definitely safe. I had to cut down a huge silver maple that the horses grazed under (not too often) without problems.

                            Calvincrowe I have several crabapple trees that get left alone, except for one horse scratching on them. Also a couple oaks that don't seem to drop too many acorns.
                            That's fine, many of us have slid down this slippery slope and became very happy (and broke) doing it. We may not have a retirement, but we have memories ...

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Where are you?

                              Ash species are safe, sweet gums are safe (but a mess), and tulip poplars are safe and fairly fast-growing and not terribly messy.

                              I would not plant honey locust - the thorns are WICKED
                              ______________________________
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Box elder is fast growing and good shade. The female of the species produces seeds that are toxic to horses, but the male does not. Given that you're ordering from a tree company, they should be able to guarantee only male specimens.

                                Bear in mind that shade can be obtained without needing a tree that has a big, spreading canopy. Upright, narrow species like poplar will create shade if planted on the south side of their area. There's a very tall, non-invasive Miscanthus grass variety called miscanthus x giganteus that will grow to 12-15ft tall by its second year, and it's not palatable to horses. Very dense if you plant a couple rows of it. You can bushhog once it completes its senescence in the winter, or leave it standing as a windbreak. (Whenever I've posted about miscanthus here, someone usually chimes in IT'S INVASIVE!! So I will head that off: this particular variety is sterile and completely noninvasive. It's not the same as landscaping center varieties. In my work, I've planted 2500 acres of it and we tracked it over multiple years. It. does. not. spread.)


                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by EventerAJ View Post
                                  What trees are economical and fast growing for central FL? Live oaks are gorgeous, of course, but So slow growing not likely to provide significant shade in very near future. Looking to add shade for paddocks that are completely treeless. I know sycamores grow fast and tall up north, not sure how well adapted they are to sugar sand. And they are leaf-less all winter. Cherries grow wild like weeds, I know they are supposed to be poisonous but I've had them in fields before without issue...they too lose leaves, but seems like they are the first to bud in early Feb. When we cleared previous property, we left many small water oak saplings and they did reasonably well in 5yrs growth, but ideally would like something a bit bigger.

                                  Any new trees would be properly boxed in. And we plan to build run in sheds as well, but land looks naked without trees!
                                  WHere in central FL? South, closer to Orlando? Or closer to Ocala? Try Sycamore - really fast growing (and it's NOT the toxic one that grows in England with the same common name.) You can find Shumard Oaks at nurseries.... Water Oak is faster growing but only lives about 30 years. Sweet Gum is a native and grows fast but has those spikey seed pods in the fall. Weeping Willow has a parasite here in FL that kills it. Aspen doesnt grow here. If you do not want them naked all winter you have to go with the Oaks. Here is a list from UF/IFAS https://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/treesandpo..._florida.shtml Here is another look at pg 6 http://gardens.usf.edu/data/landscapeguide.pdf

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    I detest sweet gum but if you want fast growing and good shade, it does that! Just keep up with the saplings that sprout everywhere from the roots or you will have a forest of it instead of only one tree.

                                    I would not intentionally put oak in the pasture... I've got one of those horses that insists on eating acorns and if I do not put up the temporary fence quickly enough then I've got another $250 emergency vet call for a gas colic.

                                    Tulip poplar (actually a magnolia) will also grow fairly quickly and provide shade.
                                    --
                                    Wendy
                                    ... with Patrick and Henry

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by HungarianHippo View Post
                                      Upright, narrow species like poplar will create shade if planted on the south side of their area.
                                      For sure that's most poplars. The Tulip Poplar has a much broader span.
                                      ______________________________
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by wsmoak View Post

                                        Tulip poplar (actually a magnolia) will also grow fairly quickly and provide shade.
                                        They're both in the "magnolia" family (or however that hierarchy works ) but Tulip Poplars and Magnolias are different, without a whole lot in common, including deciduous vs (mostly) evergreen.

                                        ______________________________
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                        Comment

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