WHITE ASH - FRAXINUS AMERICANA

Common Name: white ash

Scientific Name: 
Family: Oleaceae
Genus: Fraxinus
Species: americana

Hardiness Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 60 to 80 ft
Width: 60 to 80 ft

 

Common characteristics:

White ash is native to the forests of the Midwest. White ash was a favored urban tree for its large size canopy resembling American elm (Ulmus americana). It has wonderful purple fall foliage, can withstand some of the harshest urban environments, and has a better form than its relative green ash. Dark and nearly smooth bark on young twigs and branches and a more greenish-brown on older trees. The bark is covered in narrow ridges that form deep diamond-shaped fissures. Leaves are opposite on the stem, length of 8" to 12", pinnately compound with five to nine plainly stalked, and sharp-pointed leaflets. Dark green and smooth on top and pale green on the bottom. The fruit is a winged samara that resembles a canoe paddle with the seed toward the handle. 

Where it grows:

 White ash prefers moist, well-drained soils. It is tolerant to dry sites with alkaline or clay soils, it will tolerate road salts. 

How it’s used:

Due to its susceptibility to the emerald ash borer, this tree is unsuitable for the landscape. 

Ecosystem services:

Surviving trees make great hosts for game birds, insect pollinators, small mammals, and migrant birds.  

Where it is native to:

Native to the Eastern United States. Found only in the southeastern part of the state; grows best in rich soil; intermediate in shade tolerance. 

Problems:

 Highly susceptible to the emerald ash borer, an insect whose larva bore into and girdle the tree often killing it over several seasons. 

References:

The Morton Arboretum (Trees & Plants) found online: https://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-plant-descriptions/white-ash-not-recommended

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (Trees) found online: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/trees/white-ash.html

 

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White ash bark_1
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