Hidden Risks of Common Trees

Your yard is your sanctuary after a long day of work.  Weekends with the family under a beautiful shading tree can be a relaxing oasis.   Those eye catching trees can add depth and interest to your landscaping all the while increasing your home’s value and resale value.  At the same time trees can pose some risks that may be hidden.   Some of your cherished trees might contain compounds that when ingested can harm your family or pets. Let’s take a look at the hidden risks of the trees that could be in your backyard.


  •  Research – Whether you are planting new trees or have moved into a home with mature trees, do some research to find out the name and type of tree you have on your property.  This could tell you any potential problems before people or pets are injured.
  • Apple and Crabapples – All types of apple trees, including crabapples, can be toxic to dogs, cats and other mammals. Tree stems, leaves and seeds contain a chemical that could cause a case of mild gastrointestinal irritation.
  • Black Walnuts – The danger of this common lace tree is in the mold that grows on decomposing nuts.  Dogs that eat these molds develop vomiting, diarrhea and possibly tremors and seizures.
  • Holly Bushes – If a pet eats this plant, it will likely develop a stomachache or diarrhea.The spiny leaves and bright-red berries contain toxins that can harm your pets. If a young child consumes one or two berries, they may develop a tummy ache. Eating more leads could lead to vomiting, diarrhea or even death.
  • Horse Chestnuts – The nuts from these trees could cause pets to become sick if they play with them or chew at them.  Children could experience similar problems if the chestnuts are put in the mouth.

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