Spring is here and it’s time to get our gardens and landscaping started up again. Now is a good time to think about what should and should not be planted in gardens where horses also reside. Many plants and shrubs are toxic to horses.  Even some fruits and veggies should be kept away from hungry horses.  Here is a list of some of the vegetation to avoid in and around horse pastures and in gardens:

• Red Maples
• Cabbage, broccoli, onions, chives, kale, elderberry, pokeweed, and rhubarb
• Bouncing bet, corn cockle, and English ivy.
• Prairie groundsel, rattle box (Crotalaria), and kochia (fireweed)
• St.-John's-wort
• Milkweed, dogbane, oleander, yew, lily-of-the-valley, white snakeroot, azalea,  rhododendron species and purple foxglove
• Japanese yew , oleander,  and white snakeroot
• Castor Beans, hydrangea, and larkspur
• Wild black cherry, chokecherry, Black Walnut
• plum and peach
• Sorghum, hemlock
• Tomatoes and Potatoes
• Horse Chestnut

Many different parts of a plant can be poisonous, and some poisonous plants have multiple parts that can cause problems. Some plants are poisonous to horses only when they are fresh, while others are poisonous only after they have died or are dried out. Some plants are poisonous both fresh and dried.
The most common parts of the plant that are poisonous are:


Lawn and garden clippings can contain several hazards. Pesticides applied to lawns and gardens to control pests and weeds may be toxic too, even if it was sprayed on the previous season. Fresh cut and semi-wilted plant material can cause colic and laminitis due to fermentation and high levels of sugars and fructans. Horses may bolt lawn grass clippings because no chewing is involved and they can swallow large amounts at once.  This can lead to choke and colic. Put lawn and garden waste into your composter or manure pile, not over the fence into your horse’s pasture.

If you suspect your horse has eaten a plant that is poisonous, immediately call your veterinarian and ask what to do for your horse until they get there. If the poisonous plant is located in or near a pasture that other horses have access to, remove the horses from the pasture until the plant can be removed.