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Author Topic: Horse friendly Hedges and Trees  (Read 1258 times)


  • Joined Apr 2020
Horse friendly Hedges and Trees
« on: April 02, 2020, 02:08:19 pm »

Wondering if anyone could suggest a nice mix of hedge plants that are not toxic to horses, but also keep pests (and people!) out, and ideally look quite nice too!
We'd also like some nice trees that offer shade for them, but also a bit of screening too so ideally fast growing or cheap as mature.  Native would be best but not essential.

I keep finding mixed views online so keen to hear if anyone has done this themselves.

Are the following correct?:
Hedges: Dogwood, Hawthorn, Hornbeam, Rosemary, Field Maple, Beech.
Trees: Silver birch, common lime, Beech, Willow.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Horse friendly Hedges and Trees
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2020, 10:12:29 pm »
Sorry none of us saw this sooner.

My Fell ponies seem to love to eat Hazel as well as hawthorn. 

Whereabouts are you?  I don't think I've ever heard of Rosemary in a field hedge. 

The plant which will make it the most secure is Blackthorn, but it can be a thug, growing suckers.  And if you ever had sheep in the field, the spikes on blackthorn's stems can cause nasty foot infections.

If holly grows in your area I would add some for some overwinter leaves.  Hornbeam and beech can both retain the browned leaves over winter, but only if the hedge is manicured in summer.   If the horses will be outwintered, there will be little shelter from the trees if they're all deciduous ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Apr 2020
Re: Horse friendly Hedges and Trees
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2020, 10:41:10 am »
Thank you!

I think we're going to do a basic mix and fence the horses off from them for a few years.

The land we have is a ways from home.  I hope it's OK for us to travel back and forth during the Coronavirus lock down.  For both my wife and I it's the only work we have at the moment.


  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Horse friendly Hedges and Trees
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2020, 01:39:57 pm »

Horses have a long reach so you need to fence well back from your hedge to allow it to establish. As the grass will be lush on the hedge side they will lean over the fence to eat the grass.

I think that it would be fine to travel to work your land under current lockdown.


  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. Some like to think it's in England.
Re: Horse friendly Hedges and Trees
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2020, 04:32:05 pm »
I'm no expert on horse-friendly or, rather, unfriendly plants, but Field Maple was mentioned in your list @ShinyCharizard90 and I seem to think that anything in the acer family might be considered a dubious choice.


  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: Horse friendly Hedges and Trees
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2020, 08:44:29 pm »
Farmers are regarded as key workers, so I guess you are doing farm work ;)
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.


  • Joined Dec 2017
Re: Horse friendly Hedges and Trees
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2020, 07:31:07 am »
we've been through similar scenario - re fencing too as your other post!  We came to following conclusions after lots of thought / reading etc:  Dogwood - yes we used, Hawthorn - again yes and accounts for 50% of what we have planted (about 1000 now total), Hornbeam - no idea but lots in mature woods surrounding us and some existing trees between fields and in old hedgeline and as far as we know ok with horses, Rosemary - no idea and not heard of in hedges either - be cautious with horses as evergreen (good around house as I believe mosquitos don't like), Field Maple - yes we used in first phase but as previous post from someone else yes it's from Acer family so looked at very carefully and seems to be ok with horses - make your own decision on that one as atypical myopathy from sycamore poisoning is horrible. (and despite what most people think sycamore is not native to UK and not good for native species imho  ).  But have avoided in phase 2 in case it puts off buyers way in the future if/when we sell up.  Beech - don't know but probably ok? (check).
Trees: Silver birch, common lime, Beech, Willow. - not ones we checked out.  Evergreens generally no go with horses including holly - something we looked at carefully as wanted a 40m run of it as a year round windbreak -  obviously avoided. Blackthorn (sloe) someone mentioned yes great barrier and we have some self seeded and leaving - but avoided new for future again as some horse owners get very twitchy about the massive thorns! we also used common hazel, crab apple, dog rose, guelder rose, scotch rose.  I don't know where you are but would suggest talking to local wholesale nursery who will also (hopefully) have knowledge about best local mix. we used ...... good luck and hope this first time round we planted whips using spade - 2 inserts then lever up providing open 'slot'  second time avoided - we are on clay which meant it wasn't as easy as it looks in this video (and back breaking) and in the summer when it dried out the 'slots' opened up and was concerned about exposed roots - however they made it through. Second time round (late March/April this year once waterlogging gone) used an auger (£12 amazon - more expensive ones out there but this one worked and description stated it would be replaced if broken - which it didnt  but looks like no longer available) on an 18v drill (£30 ebay). Probably took a little longer and on knees but much easier - long term hopefully better as broken up ground for roots to start but we'll see.  Everything now on driplines too (other post) .  good luck - hope this helps you and others doing same things, we spent a lot of time working things out ourselves as info we felt reliable was difficult to find........  oh, we also harvested hawthorn berries, rosehips, blackberries (brambles), sloes (blackthorn) and have pushed into ground in front of whips - hoping they will germinate providing a double row hedge eventually (bramble/sloe in selective areas!). Nature's way I guess but without a blob of bird poo! See what happens - has anyone else tried this?  Again couldn't find anything...........


  • Joined Dec 2017
Re: Horse friendly Hedges and Trees
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2020, 08:01:23 am »
ps - as far as i know you will need to get these in now.  my understanding is by end March.  Wholesalers may be thin on the ground - we were a bit late last year ordering, this time round ordered early and whips seemed better / bigger, albeit last years survived the crazy summer (with little watering - we didn't have a tap then - tank in car) and the waterlogged winter so probably not much in it.  Just visually to an amateur! A lot of farm hedges don't get watered and seem to grow!   However we want ours to grow quickly and not lose any so not taking any risks.

also aiming to top with a little rotted manure when rain due during spring -  any comments on this appreciated please


  • Joined Apr 2020
Re: Horse friendly Hedges and Trees
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2020, 08:23:33 pm »
Thanks mark.
That's all great info!  We will certainly be buying a few of those tools.

We're going to plant only a few things more because some are no longer dormant, but next year, we'll be planting as much as you've mentioned too.


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