I'm trying to figure out which saplings to plant where (from the ones we got at a recent Arbor Day celebration/tree-give-away). Donald seemed particularly interested in the Chinese Horse Chestnut, because he remembers a horse chestnut from his youth, so I started with that one.
Two things I just learned about horse chestnuts:
First, you can use them as soap, in a pinch. I had to laugh when the author noted that the chief drawback of using the nuts as soap is that you will smell strongly of horse chestnuts. No-- really?! ;o)
Second, though the nuts are technically edible, they can be poisonous if eaten in quantity, and it's suggested that you roast them and/or soak them in water. (Seems like an awful lot of trouble, unless you've no other option. Personally, I'd rather avoid foods that might be even a little poisonous. I.e., no, I won't be eating blowfish.)
So, after reading about their toxicity, I wondered how safe this tree would be for our (current or future) dogs. What would happen if they ate/gnawed on the nuts (assuming the tree ever grows big enough to make nuts)?
I found this page, with its partial listing of plants toxic to cats and dogs.
Hm. Maybe we'll just cover the whole yard in concrete.
Good grief! I don't think there's a single non-toxic plant on the property!
I guess we'll go ahead and plant the horse chestnut and just hope for the best. There are a hundred different varieties of poison out there, if the dogs start eating the plants. I'll just have to hope they have the sense to not eat the vegetation. . . Either that, or I'll keep them in the house 24 hours a day. . . (Oops. Donald just reminded me that we have poisonous indoor plants, too. Sorry, Molly and Trixie!)