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Trees for the pasture?

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  • Trees for the pasture?

    My SO has a few acres of pasture with no shade available except for the run-in shelter. He has mentioned in the past that he would like to plant shade trees, but they have to be safe for the animals.

    I would like to buy him some trees as a surprise gift, and have been researching trees that are safe for horses/cows/sheep, but I'm having trouble deciding The requirements are: must be fast growing, tolerant of wet soil (it is Oregon after all), and will provide decent shade in a few years.

    I have narrowed the choices to silver maple, sugar maple, norway maple, green ash and hybrid poplar. I know some species of maple are toxic, but the three listed above are supposed to be safe.

    Anybody have experience planting trees in their pasture? What do I need to know? I have planted a few trees, but not in that kind of situation/setting. What trees would you get?
    It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
    Theodore Roosevelt

  • #2
    Plan to fence them off so the horses can't reach them. For whatever reason, horses love to eat trees and will absolutely destroy young ones.

    I thought it was wilted maple leaves that caused the problems? Particularly red maple. I have tons of ash in my pastures without any problems, but the poplar are going to be the fastest shade. You might plant them with something else, planning to cut the poplar down as the other trees get bigger.
    ---------------------------

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Thoroughbred in Color View Post
      My SO has a few acres of pasture with no shade available except for the run-in shelter. He has mentioned in the past that he would like to plant shade trees, but they have to be safe for the animals.

      I would like to buy him some trees as a surprise gift, and have been researching trees that are safe for horses/cows/sheep, but I'm having trouble deciding The requirements are: must be fast growing, tolerant of wet soil (it is Oregon after all), and will provide decent shade in a few years.

      I have narrowed the choices to silver maple, sugar maple, norway maple, green ash and hybrid poplar. I know some species of maple are toxic, but the three listed above are supposed to be safe.

      Anybody have experience planting trees in their pasture? What do I need to know? I have planted a few trees, but not in that kind of situation/setting. What trees would you get?
      Both Sugar Maple and Silver Maple ARE toxic to horses!!!

      http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/maple.html
      www.sauconycreeksporthorses.com
      Dedicated to breeding Friesian Sporthorses
      with world class pedigrees and sport suitability

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      • #4
        I'd go with the poplar I think, out of those choices.

        Does anyone know if Birch trees (River and paper) are toxic? I was actually going to ask that, friend of mine asked me.. and then this topic popped up haha.
        I have CDO. It's like OCD, but all the letters are in alphabetical order, as they should be!

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        • #5
          I was going to suggest the river birch esp if its wet. I have a very wet section of my pasture and I was/am going to plant some of them to not only provide shade but help soak up some of the water. I have some river oaks and I love them, esp for shade but they are NOT fast growing and have acorns.
          ~~~~~~~~~

          Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!

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          • #6
            Ash trees will eventually go the way of american elms as the emerald ash borer spreads across the US. dont plant therm.

            Cottonwood branches and bark were traditional winter forage for horses in some plains indian tribels, so I would guess it's not toxic.

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            • #7
              It looks like willow (salix species) is probably okay, as well, and is a fast grower in wet areas. But willow, cottonwood, etc. tend to be soft, 'trashy' trees. Meaning they drop limbs easily and frequently, including big ones, as compared to most trees.

              In all seriousness, the horses are going to chew on/debark/possibly kill any trees they have access to in a paddock. Heck, mine are on 25 acres of lush spring grass and they're STILL nibbling on trees (pretty much when they take a grazing break and hang out). So, you're going to have to do something to keep the horses from being able to reach the trees, period., which removes many toxicity concerns and gives you a lot more options.
              ---------------------------

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              • #8
                If it's a wet area, best stick with poplar, willow or river birch; maple, elm (with the exception of what we prairie people call piss elm), and ash hate wet feet and just rot. Just remember that poplar and willow are weed trees - fast growing, huge root systems and short lived.
                Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

                Member: Incredible Invisbles

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                • #9
                  I've seen Poplar trees that will provide shade in 5 years when started fron 18-inch sticks. Good shade and fast growing. I have them all through my pastures and have very little problems with them dropping limbs, in fact, it seems like they are very flexible to even in our Oklahoma winds I have little serious breakage. However, if one dies have it removed quickly, as they rot quickly and the entire tree can fall.

                  Liz

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thanks for all the great advice everyone. I like the river birch idea, looks like it should grow here. The poplars would mainly be a filler until other trees grow big enough. Right now there are no horses on the pasture, just some sheep and cows. I would like to make sure whatever I get is safe for horses, since the neighbors have several and my SO is a big softy when it comes to horses. At some point I know he will either come home with a horse, mule, or donkey; or my horse will live out there.

                    I figured I would have to do something to protect the trees (deer are a major annoyance around here). My plan was to just do something like this http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/reposi...img6101p16.jpg, but should I do that and fence off the area of the pasture where they are planted as well? I don't think the sheep will be a problem, but what about the cows?
                    It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
                    Theodore Roosevelt

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Fence the trees off - cows rub on them and push them over and sheep will happily browse on nice tender new shoots.
                      Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

                      Member: Incredible Invisbles

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                      • #12
                        River Birch is a lovely shade tree. It's a fast grower in wet areas but isn't a weak tree.

                        Horses will nibble on it if there isn't anything else around. Best to fence it off at least until it is well established.

                        You can't go wrong with a River Birch. I planted one near the pond a few years ago. It was just a stick, really. Not much to itl

                        It's over 15 feet tall this year.
                        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                        -Rudyard Kipling

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                        • #13
                          Here, in the staked plains, other than around houses in yards or in low draws with springs, trees don't grow.
                          Now, in some areas, mesquite bushes/trees do grow and are an invasive species.

                          If you plant some real trees and water them, you have to put geotextile fabric around them and mulch or gravel to keep the weeds off.
                          If you let anything grow under them, the rattlers think it is great moist shade for them.
                          Having anything that attracts them around your horses is NOT GOOD, you end up with a bitten horse.

                          That may not be a concern for you where you are, just a head's up for others that may think about this.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hybrid poplar requires a lot of water. It grows quickly & is meant to be harvested, so it is a weak tree. Meaning it is more prone to snapping over in weather. They were developed in search of alternative sources for wood pulp mills.
                            "Police officers are public servants. Not James Bond with a license to kill."

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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Bluey - Thankfully rattlers aren't a problem where we are, although they're fairly common in the southwest and east parts of Oregon where its warmer and drier in the summer. You find one around here every once in a while, but they're pretty uncommon. Although; right about now I would love me some desert, rattlers and all. So tired of the rain.

                              This Too - Water is definitely NOT a problem, at least from a tree's point of view. There are some varieties of hybrid poplar that have been developed for landscaping that aren't as weak, and anyhow they'd only be there long enough for the other trees to get established. Then they'd probably end up in the fireplace.
                              It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
                              Theodore Roosevelt

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Speaking of weed trees, there are some "Chinese popcorn trees" (I believe that's the name) that are on the back of my property on my neighbors side and at the front of our driveway on the other neighbors side. They grow big and fast and good shade. I looked it up once and they are invasive trees that were used as ornamental trees.
                                ~~~~~~~~~

                                Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!

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                                • #17
                                  Don't plant poplar--they grow straight up and are weak, shedding branches and break in wind/ice here.

                                  For something native, you could go with Alder--fast growing, horses don't eat them, provide shade, very water tolerant. Mulberry is good too. Big Leaf Maple is another native tree. Now, we have millions of these here in the PNW and not one horses has ever died from maple leaf toxicity, so I'm a guessing they are safe.

                                  From a long and slow perspective, you can't go wrong with Oregon White Oak.

                                  I'd suggest looking up your Farm and Forestry group, your County Extension Agent or a good independent nursery for tree suggestions. Don't shop Home Depot and the like.
                                  Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Out some slow growing trees in there while you are at it. The faster a tree grows the weaker it is, and what goes up must come down.

                                    cows will eat the leaves of a tree. Around where my Grandma lived you could tell in which pasture the cows were for any extended period of time: the trees looked from afar as if somebody had trimmed the bottom of the crown level with the ground.

                                    But - unless you are talking WET and swampy, a nice fruit tree would work, too.
                                    Originally posted by BigMama1
                                    Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                                    GNU Terry Prachett

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      SYCAMORE!

                                      Very surprised no one has suggested a sycamore yet. They grow very very fast and thrive in moist conditions. We planted one this past winter and its doing wonderfully. Of course it is fenced off and we water it often since we are in SC but I look forward to seeing how quickly this thing will grow!

                                      Read this on the sycamore...

                                      http://www.2020site.org/trees/sycamore.html

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by WildBlue View Post
                                        Plan to fence them off so the horses can't reach them. For whatever reason, horses love to eat trees and will absolutely destroy young ones.
                                        DITTO! Mine have fun ripping the bark off and playing with it, thus killing the poor trees!
                                        Welcome to my dressage world http://www.juliefranzen.blogspot.com/

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