We live in an amazing world with access to as many resources as we want. That being said, we can choose almost any tree or plant species for our yard as homeowners or gardeners. Though a tree species may be a beautiful addition to your yard, it may put your pets and the local animal population at risk.
How do we protect these animals? The most important thing to do before choosing a tree species for your yard or garden is to do your research. You do not want to choose any tree that will injury or kill your pets or local wildlife, no matter how beautiful.
In this list, we will cover the 5 most dangerous trees for animals that you can find in the United States. The most likely animals at risk are your pet dogs, outdoor cats, deer, and other small wildlife like squirrels and rabbits. Overall, some trees on this list will just cause severe health issues that are temporary, like vomiting and diarrhea. However, others are potentially lethal. Below, we will highlight the five most dangerous trees, how to identify them, where they grow naturally, and what makes them so dangerous.
Top 5 Most Dangerous Trees for Animals
- Mimosa Trees (Albizia julibrissin)
- Stone Fruit Trees
- Boxwood Trees (Buxus sempervirens)
- .Oak Trees (Quercus)
- Red Maple Trees (Acer rubrum)
1. The Mimosa Tree
What makes the Mimosa Tree so dangerous?
Mimosa tree seedpods are incredibly poisonous to all pets. In fact, anyone who consumes these seedpods will run into trouble. The seedpods contain a poison that interact and interfere with our neurotransmitters. Also, the neurotransmitters send signals to our nerves.
Ingesting mimosa seedpods will cause tremors, spasms, convulsions, and even death. Symptoms will appear when an animal consumes 1% of its body weight in seedpods. Furthermore, these seedpods threaten not only domesticated pets, but livestock as well.
What does the Mimosa Tree look like?
Gardeners and homeowners will often choose the mimosa tree for its beauty. All in all, the branches hang low for this tree and spread widely. The leaves are small, light, and green. Notably, the leaves look like needles from afar. However, the mimosa tree is not an evergreen. In the fall, the wispy leaves fall to the ground.
It is a short tree, standing 20 feet in height with a spread of 30 feet. Many say it looks like an open umbrella.
Gorgeous pink flowers grow and produce a pleasant aroma in the spring and stay through the summer. Other cultures refer to this tree as a silk tree. Ultimately, this correlates with the silky, pink flowers.
Where do Mimosa Trees grow?
The mimosa tree is native to western Asia. However, over the centuries, it was transplanted into both North America and Europe because of its beautiful features. The mimosa tree adapted well to the temperate climate and quickly became a nuisance. In the end, botanists labeled it an invasive species.
Mimosa trees prefer full sun. On the other hand, they are impartial to soil types. The coloring of the leaves highly depends on the moisture in the soil. Although, they tolerate drought very well.
2. Stone Fruit Trees
What makes Stone Fruit Trees so dangerous?
Even though humans love the fruit produced by fruit trees, they pose a great danger to your pets. Altogether, the leaves, seeds, and even stems of apple, cherry, apricot, plum, and peach trees carry the toxins.
Out of the list, the actual apple is the least dangerous. The seeds are small, and it will take significant consumption in one sitting for fatal poisoning to occur. Horses eat whole apples as a snack regularly. That being said, we should still avoid consumption of apple seeds as much as possible.
All these components of fruit trees contain cyanide, a deadly toxin. The concentration of cyanide in the plant is highest in the fall and so fallen leaves are even more dangerous than the live ones.
What does the Stone Fruit Trees look like?
Identifying a fruit tree close to harvest is very easy. Fruit covers the tree and sometimes the ground. How do you identify one of these trees when it is not close to harvest? Generally, there is very little that makes a fruit tree stand out when it is off season.
Overall, these are short trees growing in a community of similar trees. Most fruit trees need to cross-pollinate to grow fruit.
To identify the fruit tree in your yard, look at the shape of leaves. Furthermore, check out the color of the bark. Both of these features should help you determine the fruit tree.
Where do Stone Fruit Trees grow?
Humans generally plant fruit trees in groves or farms. However, they also occur in nature. Apple trees adapt easily to different climates and soil. In fact, there are variants that sustain frost very well.
Cherry trees are a little bit more particular and do not sustain frost or heat well. With that, frost is deadly to citrus trees to frost and do best in sub-tropical areas.
Otherwise, these trees are planted all throughout the world in small backyard gardens and in large industry farms.
3. The Boxwood Tree
What makes the Boxwood Tree so dangerous?
The boxwood tree is poisonous even in small amounts. Ingestion causes catastrophic multi-system organ failure. Moreover, the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and spleen all swell. Without treatment, this leads to organ failure. Just one leaf will cause significant problems.
Ingestion is not the only cause for concern. Simply brushing along the boxwood causes topical issues. Itching, redness, and skin irritation are all potential ailments from coming into contact with boxwood trees.
What does the Boxwood Tree look like?
Boxwoods display dark green leaves year-round. Untrimmed, the boxwood will grow to 20 feet in height. You will usually see them interwoven with other boxwood trees to form a hedge. The branches and leaves grow tightly together, providing privacy.
Where do Boxwood Trees grow?
Newer varieties sustain frost better than others. However, overall, boxwoods do not sustain the cold well. They prefer the southern states for their heat. At the same time, too much heat is also not preferable.
Many gardeners plant boxwood trees as natural barriers between properties or garden sections. You will see them planted and shaped all over the country.
They prefer partial sun, and it does not sustain drought well.
4. The Oak Tree
What makes the Oak Tree so dangerous?
The acorns falling from the oak tree are the dangerous part of this tree. After all, the acorns contain a toxic element that will cause discomfort in the abdomen, diarrhea, and vomiting. Furthermore, the acorns are very difficult to digest and may cause obstructions in the digestive tract. Signs and symptoms appear a few days after consumption.
Oak leaves carry some toxicity but lose it as the tree matures. A good deal of livestock consume oak leaves without issue.
What does the Oak Tree look like?
Oak trees grow to over 70 feet in height and may spread as far as 100 feet. The trunk is very thick with deeply fissured bark. Also, the leaves are dark green and usually turn to dark red in autumn.
Acorns are small green or brown nuts. Additionally, they have a smooth bottom with a rough textured top.
Where do Oak Trees grow?
Oak trees are a staple of our society. Planted just about everywhere, this tree still poses a threat to our pets. Almost the entire continent of North America is covered with oak trees both naturally and planted by man.
It sustains both moist and drier soil well. Texas is the state with the most oak tree varieties in the United States. In the end, there are only three states without oak trees: Alaska, Hawaii, and Idaho.
5. The Red Maple Tree
What makes the Red Maple Tree so dangerous?
Red maple trees are beautiful, but they are also dangerous. Currently, scientists do not know what makes red maples so toxic. However, ingestion of the leaves will lead to red blood cell impairment. The leaves cause urine color changes, darkened eyes, lack of appetite, and lethargy.
Livestock is particularly at danger for the issues of consuming red maple leaves. The dried leaves along the ground seem to be particularly potent with the toxin.
What does the Red Maple Tree look like?
Red maples will easily reach 70 feet in height and may tower as tall as 100 feet tall. The leaves feature 3 lobes and are toothed. Moreover, the leaves are dark green on top with a silvery underbelly. The red maple's name comes from the bright red leaves these trees display in autumn.
The flowers and fruits are also red. Young trees have smooth gray bark, but the mature trees grow fissured bark.
Where do Red Maple Trees grow?
Red maples are native throughout the eastern United States. From the tips of Maine to Florida, you will find red maples growing. From the east coast, red maples grow as west as Texas.
They prefer wetlands in the southern states. It is likely that red maples are the most abundant tree in the eastern United States. All in all, the red maple tolerates many kinds of habitats and climates. Both frost and heat are acceptable to this tree. Furthermore, sun and shade or dry or wet soil make no difference to this tree.