Some hedge plants, including some particularly popular hedge plant varieties, have poisonous plant parts. However, this need not be a problem; hedges are planted primarily to be admired and to provide privacy in the garden. For small children and pets, however, a hedge with poisonous plant parts can become a danger. Therefore, we are happy to tell you a little more about poisonous hedge plants and we will inform you about exactly which plant parts are poisonous now. We will also suggest a few alternatives. Hopefully, you will be able to make a good choice that suits your garden needs and situation.
The yew is actually quite poisonous
It may be that the yew tree is one of the most beloved conifers in Europe, but children and animals should take precaution not to come near it. In fact, almost all plant parts of the yew are poisonous. The poison of the yew is strong enough to kill even livestock, so for smaller creatures, eating yew plant parts is downright life-threatening. The berries that appear on the female yew after flowering also look particularly inviting due to their striking color. Although the flesh is sweet and even edible, however, the seeds contain poisonous substances, such as Taxin A and B, which only a bird’s stomach can handle well.
If you still prefer a yew hedge in the garden, then you really do not need to give up your desire. Do not have pets, but children? Then you could use, for example, only male, non-fruiting cup yew, which does not get berries. The needles and trunk of the yew hedge will still be poisonous, but children won’t be so quick to put these plant parts in their mouths. In addition, a yew hedge without berries can also hold its tight, formal shape more easily. Tree-of-life hedges, mock cypress hedges and Leyland cypress hedges are then good, non-toxic alternatives. However, conifers should be cut back more often than yews, especially Leyland cypress. You should already pay attention to this.
The toxicity of cherry laurel hedges is low.
Another popular evergreen hedge plant with toxic plant parts is the cherry laurel. The risk for children is significantly lower with a cherry laurel than with a yew. In fact, cherry laurel berries are less noticeable and much less life-threatening than yew berries. If your child eats fewer than five yew berries, it is usually sufficient if your child then drinks plenty of water, thereby neutralizing the berries’ prussic acid. If several berries are eaten, then you should go to the doctor. This is more difficult with animals because the leaves, twigs, trunk and roots contain more poison than the relatively small seeds of the berries.
The Japanese aukube, which is quite similar to the cherry laurel, is also slightly poisonous. However, the poisonous plant parts of this hedge plant are much less toxic than the plant parts of a cherry laurel hedge. Nevertheless, you should be extra careful if there are animals near the hedge. By the way, this does not mean that Japanese aukuben hedges or even cherry laurel hedges in general should not be used where children or animals spend time every day. In that case, you should always pay close attention and contact a doctor immediately after accidentally eating poisonous parts of the plant, so that major problems can not arise in the first place.
Other poisonous hedge plants
The poisonous hedge plants we have already mentioned are all evergreens. Unfortunately, we couldn’t mention all the hedge plants because the plant parts of a boxwood are also poisonous. Take the Japanese holly if you are looking for boxwood substitutes. This often-used boxwood substitute does have slightly poisonous berries, but this toxicity is less risky. The nearly evergreen privet is also poisonous, as is holly, although accidentally eating holly berries in small amounts is not fatal. Colorful firethorn berries are also mildly poisonous, but the sharp thorns on the branches will ensure that firethorn berries are not eaten quickly. Firethorn berries attack the digestive process.
There is more choice in deciduous hedge plants, although the seeds of kuper rock pear berries are still mildly poisonous. Nevertheless, there are still enough flowering hedge plants that even get edible fruits, such as rose hips of dog rose or potato rose. The beech hedge and the hornbeam, which looks similar to the beech hedge, can be planted in a garden without any problems by curious children and animals running around. Beech hedges also make wonderful privacy hedges. The field maple, by the way, is also a wonderful non-toxic hedge plant. The encroaching hawthorn is also a plant that is non-toxic. However, the thorns of a common hawthorn can cause injury.
Additional advice about poisonous hedge plants
Do you need advice when it comes to choosing non-toxic hedge plants that can be planted in the garden without hesitation? Are you not sure about the plants in your garden? Then we will be happy to help you, because our hedge plant experts are always here for you. As we said before, poisonous hedge plants do not quite automatically lead to life-threatening situations in your garden, but with our help you will know what to expect and what precautions you might want to take when planting a pretty yew hedge, cherry laurel hedge, boxwood hedge, privet hedge or any other hedge with poisonous plant parts in your garden.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.