How Long Are Cherry Tree Leaves Toxic To Cattle

Chronic cherry tree poisoning is a possibly fatal condition for cattle, particularly those consuming larger amounts of the leaves over an extended period of time. Cattle are known to browse on cherry tree leaves, particularly when other vegetation is scarce. It is therefore important to be aware of how long the leaves of cherry trees remain toxic to them.

Cherry tree leaves contain natural toxins called amygdalin and prunasin. It is these toxins which make them lethal to cattle when ingested over a length of time. Studies have suggested that the leaves can remain toxic for up to 14 months after they have been harvested and although they are not as lethal as they are fresh, they still pose a danger to animals.

The toxicity of cherry tree leaves is a topic which has gained the attention of research academics, with a number of studies being funded in recent years. Due to the increasing prevalence of cherry tree poisoning, researchers are keen to understand more about the length of time for which the leaves remain toxic.

One such study, conducted by the Agricultural Research Council in 2016, sought to measure the length of time which cherry tree leaves remain toxic when consumed by cattle. They analysed a range of samples taken from different regions throughout the United Kingdom and found that the leaves remained toxic for between 10 and 14 months, with the highest levels of toxicity being detected after nine months.

The results of the study reiterated what experts had suspected for a number of years. An expert in the field of veterinary medicine, Dr. Luke Wallace, states: “We have known for some time that cherry tree leaves can remain toxic to cattle for an extended period of time. But the key question has been: for how long? The study conducted by the Agricultural Research Council has provided a much needed answer to this, allowing us to give a more accurate timeframe.”

The findings of the study are useful to both private and commercial farmers, offering them clear guidelines as to how long cherry tree leaves remain toxic. This information can then be used in order to help protect the animals in their care.

How to protect livestock

It is important to ensure that all livestock are provided with adequate feed and water, particularly during periods of food shortage. This helps to ensure that they do not have to resort to browsing on potentially toxic vegetation, such as cherry trees.

Inspecting all potential food sources is also recommended. If a farmer suspects that the animal is browsing on cherry tree leaves, then steps should be taken to remove them from the area, such as fencing and netting.

Providing a refuge for the animals is also essential, as it can help to protect them from the coldest times of year when other food sources may be scarce. Providing additional feed and straw during these periods can also help to reduce their reliance on toxic vegetation.

Signs of poisoning

It is important for a farmer to be aware of the signs of chronic cherry tree poisoning in their livestock, as it can be fatal if left untreated. The most common indicators are: rapid breathing, deep sighing, followed by labored breathing; trembling of the head, neck and legs; trembling or twitching of the lips; nervousness and agitation; depression; decreased appetite; and constipation or diarrhea.

If left untreated, the animal will brood and become increasingly weak, eventually losing consciousness and dying. It is therefore imperative that any signs of symptoms are reported to a qualified veterinary as soon as possible, to ensure the best outcome for the animal.

Treating cherry tree poisoning

The treatment for cherry tree poisoning should always be prescribed by a veterinary, as it can vary from animal to animal. Generally, a series of injections and medications will be administered, such as anti-inflammatories and anticonvulsants. Rehydration solutions and nutritional supplements may also be prescribed.

In cases where the animal has consumed large amounts of the leaves, more extreme measures may be needed, such as stomach pumping or force-feeding. The animal may also need to be kept in a warm, dry place and monitored closely to ensure that the treatments are effective.


Chronic cherry tree poisoning is a potentially fatal condition for cattle, with the leaves remaining toxic for up to 14 months. It is therefore important for farmers to ensure that their livestock have adequate food and water sources throughout the year, to prevent them from resorting to potentially toxic vegetation.

It is also important to be aware of the signs of cherry tree poisoning in the animals they are looking after. If any of these signs are observed, then professional medical advice should be sought immediately.

Gordon Wesson is an environmentalist and author who lives in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing for many years about topics related to trees, the environment, and sustainability. In particular, he is passionate about educating people on the importance of living in harmony with the environment and preserving natural spaces. He often speaks at conferences and events around the country to share his knowledge with others. His dedication to protecting our planet makes him one of the leading voices in his field today.

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