Laurel shrubs and horses in houston area

Asked February 19, 2014, 7:22 PM EST

My new neighbors want to plant cherry laurels or tru green laurels along my fence row where I have horses. I grew up with native texas laurels in my horses pastures and have a wild laurel in my horse pasture even now. I now information on the web says "laurels" are poisonous to horses but I cannot find any cases where this has happened. Do I tell my new neighbors to forget that type of bush or is it ok for them to plant 10 ft off the fence line? Thanks for your help.

Harris County Texas

1 Response

The only information I have on hand is from the book Southern Forages by Ball, Hoveland, and Lacefield. It lists Mountain Lauel, Ground Ivy, and Bush Ivy (Kalmia latifolia) in the poisonous plants chapter on page 162. It states, "All kinds of grazing livestock may be poisoned, but sheep seem to be particularly sensitive. Poisoning usually occurs in late autumn, winter, or early spring when little else is available for animals to eat. Otherwise, animals normally avoid the plant. Several related species in the genera Rhododendron, Leucothoe, and Lyonia may also be toxic."Hope that helps some on your decision!Teri Antilley, Extension Horse Program Specialist