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continued pasture planning woes.

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    continued pasture planning woes.

    Continuing my pasture saga...we have finally figured out our pastures and barn design. We are doing 4 stalls, I want no more than three horses and then either a mini or a mini donkey but just 2 horses to start. We have a 1 acre lot with 24 x 24ish run outs from each stall, another 2 acre plot and 80x140 outdoor arena planned. The deeper we get, the more difficult (of course). Throughout our planning I have realized pretty much every tree is black locust, which I am sure I need to remove. The others are pear or apple, which I am assuming since the space is so small I should also remove. That leaves 2 birch trees on the 1 acre plot, nothing in the 2 acre plot.

    So here are my questions.

    Do I need to take down the apple and pear trees (they are both in the one acre plot), do I just pick up all the fruit before I turn out (ugh) or should I just not use that plot during harvest season?

    Can we use the black locust wood to build our fence, or is it 100% poisonous?

    Has anyone had luck planting trees in a pasture, or should I just forget it and plan on the run-in and call it a day?

    Horses will chew on any available trees, killing them in time. Locusts also drop a lot of seed pods, as well as being thorny. Probably best to remove them. If the fruit trees are big enough to produce fruit, you could surround them with a wood fence, keep them for shade. Hooves on the roots will probably kill them, along with being chewed on. The locust could be used as posts for fencing the trees off. Locust is a hard wood.

    We get bonus apples from the neighbors trees hanging over the fence. I collect them in a muck tub and give as treats. They are mature trees, quite productive even with no care. You can prune apple and pear trees back, have less limbs to produce fruit.

    Any tree will need protection from horses in such small fields. You could plant a couple trees in good locations, once the fences are in. Or put up shelters for shade.


      The black locust is fine for fence posts, it is only the leaves and seeds that are an issue. If it is good sized and straight locust, your cost of removal of it and other trees may go down. It has value in most places.
      You will have to fence off the other trees. If fenced off the apple and pear probably will make it, but may be more of a nuisance than anything in such a small space given that they would take up space, produce very little shade, and nuisance fruit. The birch almost certainly will die fairly fast due to root compaction, I would just remove it.
      I have luck with trees in pastures: but they are big fields of several acres and the trees are fenced off and are types that are tolerant of root compaction.


        Personally I wouldn't want any fruit trees in my pastures (nor Locust for above mentioned reasons). I wouldn't want any horses to have access to fruit, they will be able to reach into the trees to help themselves and plenty will continue to fall even after you picked them up, just not something I would want a horse(s) to be able to eat other than as an occasional treat.

        That said, you need to price how much it is going to cost for all the trees to be removed along with the stumps, it can get a bit pricey.


          My pastures have some sort of native locust trees (with very small seed pods), as well as black walnut and old apple trees. The horses never bother the locust or walnut trees. The black walnut trees are huge, and besides the cost, they would be more harmful if cut down due to creating so much sawdust. So they stay, and I hate them. The apple trees produce some small apples which fall to the ground over a period of weeks. When the horses get turned out, they make the rounds to find what they can. Since four horses have access every day, I don't think any one horse ingests a dangerous amount of apples at once. I think some are also eaten by deer or other animals. The only time I had an issue with the apples was when I had an old pony with many missing teeth. He choked on apples a couple of times before I figured it out. After that, he wore a grazing muzzle during apple season.

          All that said, I would definitely prefer way fewer trees in my pasture, and definitely all the black walnut and apple trees to disappear. I don't mind the locusts.


            Original Poster

            Originally posted by js View Post
            Personally I wouldn't want any fruit trees in my pastures (nor Locust for above mentioned reasons). I wouldn't want any horses to have access to fruit, they will be able to reach into the trees to help themselves and plenty will continue to fall even after you picked them up, just not something I would want a horse(s) to be able to eat other than as an occasional treat.

            That said, you need to price how much it is going to cost for all the trees to be removed along with the stumps, it can get a bit pricey.
            Fortunately we have all the equipment to remove the trees and turn them into posts and boards. The fruit trees are very old- the pear trees will go 5 years with barely anything, then have a year that I can't keep up with the fruit!

            I didn't realize that the birch trees would die so fast! That makes me sad- they are my favorite trees!


              The old orchard on our farm is one of my regular turnout spaces, and it has several mature (ok, ancient) pear trees. I just keep them off that field for about 8 weeks, beginning when fruit starts to ripen. If you have another turnout space you can use while you rest the orchard, then I'd leave the fruit trees in place. During the spring/summer, those trees will provide nice shade, food for pollinators, and add beauty to your views while you wait for the new trees to take root and get tall.