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are pine trees safe?

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  • are pine trees safe?

    I promise I'm not neurotic about trees,but I have such bad luck that I know I would be the one in a million whose horse decides a toxic tree/shrub tastes fantastic and keels over. What about white pines? I'm just needing something to line between a pasture and a road. I keep reading that pine needles are toxic if eaten in large quantities, but surely it couldn't be enough from blowing in to harm, right? The fence will be hot, so it would be blowing only. I can get a decent deal on some and I'm just exploring my options.

  • #2
    I don't know about white pines, but we live in a ponderosa pine forest and have never had any trouble with horses.
    Kanoe Godby
    www.dyrkgodby.com
    See, I was raised by wolves and am really behind the 8-ball on diplomatic issue resolution.

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    • #3
      Whatever type of pine trees that grow all over GA and become the shavings in your stalls are safe. In fact, I once saw "pine bark" as an ingredient in a supplement sold for horses.
      I am sure that if horses only ate pine needles, they could get sick. But even once at a barn where the horses were eating green pine needles (not Cloudy and Callie whose food was supplemented and whom I moved because we were all paying for our own hay and feed separately and not getting it.) the horses did not get sick.
      Some evergreens are toxic, but the pines that grow all over the south are just hot and messy until they become shavings and lumber.
      Make sure your horses have free choice hay and they will not want to munch on pine needles. I'm more concerned about oak leaves with all the oak trees down here.

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      • #4
        Nothing eats pine trees, not even deer.
        I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Guin View Post
          Nothing eats pine trees, not even deer.
          I'm not sure that is accurate, I have seen plenty of farms here with tall pine trees (whatever type those are here in the south) where the horses have stripped the bark off. It might be true that they rarely eat the needles, but they will chew on the bark.
          There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
            I'm not sure that is accurate, I have seen plenty of farms here with tall pine trees (whatever type those are here in the south) where the horses have stripped the bark off. It might be true that they rarely eat the needles, but they will chew on the bark.
            Holy starving horses, Batman! I've had horses around southern pines for decades and never seen them gnaw the bark or needles of pines. Those horses must be confined with no pasture available.

            Are you sure that what you see on the pine trunks isn't the results horses or cattle rubbing on the trees? Cattle in particular will scratch an itch on a tree-trunk, but I've never heard of any domestic livestock eating pine bark.
            "It’s a well-documented fact that of all the animals in the realm of agriculture, Bulls have the highest job satisfaction rate."~~Ree Drummond, AKA the Pioneer Woman

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            • #7
              My horses have eaten pine needles, and no they aren't starving. Actually, it was only one of them who seemed to have a taste for them. They weren't on the ground, mind you, they were on the tree. *shrug* It was definitely a surprise to me.

              The other chose the spiky honeysuckle-esque bushes that I tried desperately to chop down before they moved home. I thought - oh boy, those will overrun the pastures and the horses will not have grass.

              Nope, they ate the bushes with gusto.

              *shrug* These horses get 4-6 flakes of hay daily, there are two grass pastures, grain meal 2x/day...and one of them eats pine needles.

              So far, he's been fine. Puzzles me to watch, but...

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              • #8
                My mare lived with white pines, and was fine.

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                • #9
                  As far as I am aware white pine is not toxic to horses.

                  My own fields are surrounded by pine and cedar trees and none of my horses ever touch them. Mind you they live in large pasture fields with ad-lib hay all year round. Most of these conifer trees have such strong smells to them that most horses will not eat them unless there is nothing else for them to eat. Mine certainly don't touch our conifer trees ever, although they do pick on the bark of some deciduous trees. My latest plan is to plant a willow tree in every one of our pasture fields - how long it will take for each of these trees to mature enough to let the horses nibble on them is not something I know, but I have plenty of time to wait for them to be useful to the horses.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MikeP View Post
                    Holy starving horses, Batman! I've had horses around southern pines for decades and never seen them gnaw the bark or needles of pines. Those horses must be confined with no pasture available.

                    Are you sure that what you see on the pine trunks isn't the results horses or cattle rubbing on the trees? Cattle in particular will scratch an itch on a tree-trunk, but I've never heard of any domestic livestock eating pine bark.
                    Nope, these are TB yearlings usually in this pasture, lots of grass, they are grained regularly, and there is always a big compressed bale of alfalfa in the field. This paticular farm raises TB's to sell, so they are very well cared for. I think the horses just peel the bark off for fun. Or maybe you are right, they are rubbing the bark off, since I have never seen one actually gnawing on the trees.

                    However, I have seen my horses gnawing on the bark of limbs that fell off my gigantic 60+ feet tall pine tree in the pasture. This is 3 horses living in 9 acres of grass that grows so fast I have to mow all the darned time. I think they do it just because it is something different.
                    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Guin View Post
                      Nothing eats pine trees, not even deer.
                      Tell that to my silly mare, who once walked under a big fir tree, reached up and took a large mouthful of needles. I'm sure it tasted terrible, and she dropped them after a few chews, but her breath smelled lovely for a few minutes!

                      I've never known a horse to want to eat pine, except - like this mare - as a playful mouthy grab.

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                      • #12
                        My farm has many loblolly pines in the horse pastures. I've had horses here for 37 years and have never seen a horse eat pine bark or dead needles. Occasionally one will sample a green needle but they are bitter and usually cause the horse to make a funny face.
                        Most of the baled shavings and sawdust in Florida are from loblolly pines.
                        I think the greatest danger is from horses rubbing on the tree trunks and getting a mane full of sticky sap, causing the owner to get carpal tunnel trying to remove it!
                        Piney Woods

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                        • #13
                          I live in the Piney Woods and have never had a problem with the horses and pine trees. I will say this though. Pine trees tend to grow tall, but not thick. They snap very easily in high winds, heavy snow/ice. Any and all fence repairs I have had to make have been from Pine trees falling on the fences.
                          Rhode Islands are red;
                          North Hollands are blue.
                          Sorry my thoroughbreds
                          Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :

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                          • #14
                            SE Texas is known as the piney woods. I don't know about white pines... really can't tell one pine from another. But the horses have been find surrounded by pine trees, bedded on pine shavings, and walking around pine needle carpeted pastures.

                            Originally posted by twofatponies View Post
                            I've never known a horse to want to eat pine, except - like this mare - as a playful mouthy grab.
                            Or maybe she just needed a TicTac?
                            "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh

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