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Black Walnut tree

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  • Black Walnut tree

    We have a black walnut tree that borders a pasture. The branches have grown over the fence and drop in the walnuts. Unfortunately we have no option at the moment except to put a horse in there. The pasture is mid-size, plenty of room away from the tree, but with horses it will probably be a favorite hang-out spot. It isn't there yet, but I'd like to do something before it arrives. So what's the best option?

    1. Leave it as it is.
    2. Cut it down. So far this is the least likely option, I'm worried about sawdust and the stuff left behind.
    3. Fence around it. Unfortunately we can't really go for a full fence around it so it would have to be t-posts (capped!) and hot tape.

    This isn't a permanent residence for the horse but it may be awhile until we can get another field fenced and there will definitely be some time overlapping between the horse's arrival and a new pasture.

  • #2
    My vet said not to worry about the trees themselves ~ just the wood shavings will founder one immediately. Have known herds of horses and ponies living on pastures with groves of black walnut trees - no problem ever. But just a trace in shavings - huge problem. I vote ~ Leave it as it is.
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


    • #3
      The live tree isn't a danger to the horse, only the sawdust. This would make cutting it down the worst option. I have boarded at acouple of places that had thhem in th pasture with no problems (with the exception of a fallen nut getting stuck in hoof on occasion) and I have one in my geldings paddock right now with no ill effects. We took a dead one out of a friends pasture a couple of years ago. Moved horses out of pasture, cut tree down and moved it out of pasture away from horses to burn later. Burned all shavings and ground below in pasture and then watered down really well once everything was incinerated. Kept horses off that pasture for about a week (and it was a week of good soaking rain).

      The trees don't scare me at all, the shavings scare the crap out of me.


      • #4
        We took 2 down this past spring as I was worried about the leaves and pollen blowing into the horses paddocks (about 50 ft. away). The tree cutters were meticulous about every last shaving they could possibly get, and none of them blew into the horse paddocks, and then it rained and rained.

        This article talks about the pollen's ability to also induce laminitis, which is how me made our decision. Considering the location of the trees (upwind), we thought that in the fall leaves could also potentially blow into the paddocks.

        I was definitely nervous about having them cut down because of the shavings, but the paddocks were a ways away, and we were very careful. With the rains we had the dust that was left went into the ground/grass. This was in early April.


        • #5
          We also struggled with this same decision after we bought our farm. My rear pasture has a H-U-G-E black walnut tree in it. I just couldn't bare the thoughts of cutting down this amazing tree, plus I worried about the shavings from cutting it down. The trunk on this tree is so large that if I were to hug it, my arms would only reach 1/2 way around it.

          We chose to leave it and I put a fence around it approximately 4 feet away from the trunk all the way around it.

          Yes - I do have walnuts on the ground around it, but it hasn't bothered my horses and the tree is absolutely stunning.


          • #6
            We had two taken out, that were outside of but hung into a particular paddock (roots grew into and under paddock as well). Talked long and hard with a few vets, and they felt the oils from the dropped nuts (we removed them every morning pre-turn out) into the paddock were enough cause for concern. We did have one in that particular pasture have a bout of laminitis caught early, and while it was impossible to blame the trees and trees alone it also was something we couldn't rule out. Horse wasn't a classic/you expect it case.

            The good news...black walnut is highly sought after by wood workers. We actually sold ours, and came out on top even after paying for removal. They were quite large trees for their kind.

            Bad news...yep, you are right. Clean up was a bear. Luckily for us, we just dismantled the area and were able to make up the space elsewhere on the property. I know many people don't have that option.
            "Aye God, Woodrow..."


            • #7
              My vet said not to worry about the trees themselves ~ just the wood shavings will founder one immediately. Have known herds of horses and ponies living on pastures with groves of black walnut trees - no problem ever. But just a trace in shavings - huge problem. I vote ~ Leave it as it is.
              That is EXACTLY what my vet said. I caught the squirrels up there taking the shells off and pitching them into the ponies water trough

              Vet said as in mimicking my thoughts ..."The squirrels are trying to poison my ponies "


              • #8
                I talked a bit with my family, they say the tree is too valuable to cut down right now anyway and they want it to grow more. I just wish we had a little more open area to fence for my horse but that has to be put up to probably at least a year.

                I'm going to put forward the idea of fencing around it. I was planning to fence around where the nuts drop (more than 4 feet away, I tend to fret) although a few of them roll away since it's on a slope at the "bottom" end of the pasture.


                • #9
                  I have a couple in my fall pasture. I've not experienced any ill effects from them. I do pick up the nuts if I find them and blow all the leaves out to the beyond when they fall but the horse's know what's good for them and leave them alone. I'd be more worried about red maple...
                  If you destroy the land, you destroy the animals;
                  if you destroy the animals, you destroy the people.


                  • #10
                    Three of those big trees are in the main pasture where I board. I was worried at first, too, but quicky learned that it was only the chopped up shavings that were the danger. Six years of grazing around those trees have done nothing.
                    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                    • #11
                      Go with the posts and hot tape, out beyond the span of branches. They say the roots go out as big or bigger than the top of tree. Will probable keep most of the leaves in that taped off area when they fall. If there are other things to eat in the paddock or field horses won't be bothering it.

                      It would be nice to have things perfect, sometimes that can't happen. You do the best you can. Horses ignore walnut if they have other food, grazing, it tastes nasty, and so do the leaves and nuts. Walnuts often are bare of greenery underneath, they have a natural poison that prevents some other plants growing around them. Horses will usually ignore other bad things in their areas, poison weeds, if they have enough good stuff to eat or graze on to keep busy.