Your Guide to Equine Health Care

Horse Farm Landscaping: Avoid These Poisonous Flowers and Shrubs

Find out which flowers, shrubs, and trees you should avoid when sprucing up your barn this spring.

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Landscaping Lessons
Those lovely ornamentals you planted around the barn or paddocks can become lethal if they end up in the wrong mouths. | Photo: iStock

Make sure you’re not inadvertently planting poisonous flowers and shrubs around your barn this spring.

Do you have landscaping around your barn? If so, you know it can be easy to get carried away with these spaces, whether they’re a collection of potted flowers near the outdoor arena or more permanent green flowering shrubs edging the barn. But what if one simple nibble of your beautiful ornamental plants could prove deadly to your horse?

Often horse owners seek out plants that combine aesthetics with hardiness. And even though they’re placed well out of reach of curious muzzles, flowers and plants arranged around the stable can still pose threats to horses. Strong winds, storms, and flooding, for instance, can carry branches, leaves, and other plant materials into pastures or hayfields. Plus, as we all know too well, the escape artists around the barn might end up grazing in areas normally off limits. Then there’s the horse that randomly grabs at any or all leafy green material while being led out to his field or the arena.

Many plants can be toxic to horses, and this list represents a small sampling of popular and, unfortunately, toxic, decorative flora. Let’s look at which ones you should avoid when sprucing up your barn.

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Written by:

Kristen M. Janicki, a lifelong horsewoman, was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and later attended graduate school at the University of Kentucky, studying under Dr. Laurie Lawrence in the area of Equine Nutrition. Kristen has been a performance horse nutritionist for an industry feed manufacturer for more than a decade. Her job entails evaluating and improving the performance of the sport horse through proper nutrition.

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