Lucerne trees are they safe?


New Member
We live on a really old property, and there is a small paddock of Lucerne trees they are very healthy and flowering. My colt has taken to eating the leaves does anyone know if it is safe for him?? I googled it and cant seem to find anything.


Well-known Member
He'll be fine eating tagasaste. The seeds are poisonous, but think they generally don't touch them.


Well-known Member
Lucerne trees are excellent fodder for horses. Just be wary if your horse is sensitive to protein. You should restrict feeding once it seeds as the seeds are bad for horses (they are very small and low risk of being eaten but you never know).

Also the horses really love lucerne trees so they probably will need protection as the horses will eat them until there is nothing left!


New Member
Thanks for the replies, he has never eaten the before now?? So they must taste good at the moment. There are alot of them so will have to lock him up every now and again i think.


Well-known Member
I can recall seeing in the green horse section of hoofbeats a property plan incorporating a hedge of lucerne trees (tagasaste) along paddock fenceline as a feed source for horses..


Active Member
i know people who grow them and fence them off and then take a hedge trimmer to them every now and then in summer and feed it out to the horses for green pick when there is not much around and its supposed to be fine..:)* we are thinking of growing some as summer is not very green up here.



I haven't personally had the chance to feed tagasaste (lucerne trees), but if I did I would monitor and restrict the intake, just as you would lucerne hay. I think if you let the horse go at it ablib, you will have problems, both with the trees longevity and possibly the horses too!

I have heard of people having rows of it fenced off, and letting the horses in for CONTROLLED nibbles.

Any chance of a pic of one of the trees....I'm interested to see what one looks like.**)


New Member
Sure can :) We have heaps of them here but i have never had any of the others eat them before??? But yet my colt seems to like them.


New Member
We have grown some round the chook pen and it grows like wildfire!!
At first none of my horses would eat it but after a while they had a peck or two and now they love it! As you can see on the photo there is a small spot where they can reach in and eat it over the chicken mesh and they have absolutely stripped that part of the bush back!
We got advised to grow it in hedges in place of fences as well but I definately wouldn't let them have free range of it, I'd be too scared that they would get a protein overload.

Here's a pic of it, they are flowering at the moment and it smells so nice :)

and a closer up shot of the leaves


Well-known Member
Mine live on the stuff and love it, I cut big branches and they chew every bit of bark off, eat the leaves then chew the twigs when they are dried out. They get very excited when they see me walk out with the saw. As for the protein content I don't know if that is an issue I haven't heard anyone having any problems.

Just did a search, 18-25% protein in the tips and around 8% in older leaves. Apprently has high digestibility
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Well-known Member
We had heaps of the lucerne trees on our property in katanning (when we lived there) my horses loved it when i would chop a few branches off for them, they loved the leaves. Awesome stuff and saved alot of money over summer for me as it provided some green for them and reduced my hay bill.

Sugar's Mum

Well-known Member
I planted one at my Mums house and every now adn then when it needed a prune my horse would get the off cuts. He loved them but you dont feed the seeds.


Well-known Member
They can be come a bit of a weed in some areas too - goes to show how easily they can be grown.


New Member
Anyone know of any growing in Nth QLD around the Townsville Charters Towers area? Would love to get my hands on some and give it a go as we are currently re-vegetating and I am trying to be as horse friendly as possible. Anyone got any other trees/shrubs that are horse friendly and don't need a lot of water?


Active Member
Tag trees are awesome, if your horse can handle the protein protein and more protein!!!

But another issue if they are overgrazed, especially when in a paddock that has planted rows of it, is once the leaves and soft branches are eaten, it can become very easy for the horses to hurt themselves on the heavier branches sticking out. Once saw a steer lose an eye while running through it.
But I think if planted so they have plenty of room to walk around, and managed properly, great stuff. I ave been told its not good for pregnant mares too, so I keep my broodys off it.

Bees is another issue, this time of year, when the flowers are out!! You would think the trees were humming, makes the best honey though :))

Ziggyz - If I have time to get new batteries for my camera today, will take a photo :)


New Member
Anyone know of any growing in Nth QLD around the Townsville Charters Towers area? Would love to get my hands on some and give it a go as we are currently re-vegetating and I am trying to be as horse friendly as possible. Anyone got any other trees/shrubs that are horse friendly and don't need a lot of water?

Google Eden Seeds they are based in QLD i think and order over the internet.
Just received mine the other well as some yummy vegie seeds!!**)


Well-known Member
Try Kims seeds in WA. Goggle it **)

We have just planted approx 5 km of the things :)

They are in tight row/hedge spaced in rows of approx 45 apart in the paddocks. This way can also crop in between ,and uilise them as fencing.

We direct seeded them - and put them in a bit heavier than the norm - allowing for frost eradication and potential germination failure. some area's nothing came up, which was expected and we have VERY wet weather just after planting, and beleive they 1.washed away, 2. rotted before germination.

However - 80% of the planting was incredibly succsessful with what Id say is almost 100% germination where they did come up! Here is an example of an area - we are not sure what happened here, and we literally have hundreds of the little things come up in a row. IM guessing our little push seeder went nuts and just pured them into the row.

Here are some pics anyway.




These are the spares - We will need them for the bare patches, but all the same I think Im going to have to do a great deal of thinning out. I wil attempt to transplant the trees from the thick area's to the bare patches - having developed and survived that long they will possible cope with the transplant better. This will depend of the depth of the roots - if the roots dont look very healthy, or uniform in formaiton - I may descide to plant out the one grom in trays instead.


Tagasaste tend to prefer lighter soils - sandy- great for coastal area's. The best example of them has actually been seen on an the Canary Islands , (where they origionate from I beleive...) where the naitve/wild ponies thrive on during summer and droughts, when their is little else to graze.However they are very robust - and seem to be doing very well so far. I have seen them thrive in situaitons where you could honesty say - the soil was VERY heavy.
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Jaco Bernardo

New Member
Hi, I've planted some lucerne trees on my plot, covered them so that they could grow. One is about 3 years old and the other are about 6 months old. Some are flowering at the moment. I've cut the bottom branches out because they were on the ground and gave it to my horses, they didn't eat it, so I've left the flowering tree open to see what the horses will do, but they never even considered the tree.

Is it possible that the trees become bitter or give off a taste while flowering so to keep animals away?

I know horses eat them as i gave a young tree to my neighbour and his horses stripped it a few times. So I don't know whats going on.