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Fraxinus americana

Common Name(s):

Description

Fraxinus americana, the White Ash (family Oleaceae), is a large, deciduous shade tree that can attain 100 feet in height and 75 feet in width. Its shape is upright but becomes more rounded and open as the tree matures. Because of its imposing size it is best suited to expansive lawn areas or parks. The bark is yellow-brown to ight gray and corky with deep furrows that separate short, pointed ridges.

Ash trees have male and female flowers on separate trees and only the female flowers develop into fruits. Purchasing male trees will prevent you from having to deal with the fruits which can be a bit of a nuisance near a walkway. It is worth considering planting female ash trees though, because the fruits are born in clusters among the foliage and add a sophisticated note of unusual dimension to the trees in late summer.

The cultivars of White Ash are generally much more desirable than seedling trees and are well worth seeking out. A few of the many excellent ones include: 'Autumn Applause' - known for its maroon fall color, dense branching and gracefully drooping foliage, 'Autumn Blaze' - a female selection with purple fall color, 'Autumn Purple' - a male with excellent displays of purple-red foliage in the fall, and 'Chicago Regal' - a vigorous grower which develops purple fall color.

The White ash is the largest of the native ashes.  

White Ash is a valuable timber tree  Its wood is commercially used for a variety of products including tool handles, oars, garden furniture and sports equipment.  White ash is the wood used for the Louisville Slugger baseball bat.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains

Seasons of Interest: 

     Leaves: Fall; Fruit/Seed: Summer

Wildlife Value: 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Pest Problems:   Emerald ash borer will will typically kill an ash tree within 3-5 years after inestation  One infestation accurs, it is difficult to eradicate this pest which feeds under the bark and bores into the wood.  Other potential problems are ash borer, lilac borer, carpenter worm, oyster shell scale, leaf miners, fall websworms, ash sawflies and ash leaf curl aphid.  Potential disease problems include fungal leaf spots, powdery mildew, rst, anthracnose, cankers and ash yellows.  General ash decline is also a concern.  Brittle branches are susceptible to damage from high winds, snow and ice.

Planting new ash trees is no longer recommended due to the trees susceptibilty to the emerald ash borer.

 

Cultivars:
  • 'Autumn Applause'
  • 'Autumn Blaze'
  • 'Autumn Purple'
  • 'Chicago Regal'
  • 'Rose Hill'
Tags:
#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#wildlife plant#tsc#rabbit resistant#larval plant#playground#squirrels#small mammals#cpp#low flammability#beavers#porcupines#deer resistant#children's garden#fire resistant
Cultivars:
  • 'Autumn Applause'
  • 'Autumn Blaze'
  • 'Autumn Purple'
  • 'Chicago Regal'
  • 'Rose Hill'
Tags:
#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#wildlife plant#tsc#rabbit resistant#larval plant#playground#squirrels#small mammals#cpp#low flammability#beavers#porcupines#deer resistant#children's garden#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Fraxinus
    Species:
    americana
    Family:
    Oleaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    The seeds of the White ash are enjoyed by birds, squirrel, and other small mammals.  White ash is a larval plant for tiger swallowtail and mourning cloak butterflies.  The bark is eaten by rabbits, porcupines and beavers.  The foliage is browsed by white-tailed deer.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Enhancement
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to fire in landscape. Generally tolerant of urban conditions.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 60 ft. 0 in. - 100 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 50 ft. 0 in. - 75 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Pyramidal
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Fertilized female flowers give way to drooping clusters of winged samara (to 2" long) that ripen in fall and may persist on the tree throughout the winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are primarily dioecious (separate male and female trees). Clusters of apetalous purplish male and female flowers appear on separate trees in April-May before the late-to-emerge foliage.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Obovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaf of the white ash are odd-pinnate compound leaves with 7 leaflets (less frequently 5 or 9). Oval to oblong-lanceolate leaflets (3-5" long) are dark green above and whitish green below The foliage turns yellow with purple shading in the fall.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Bark Description:
    The bark is yellow-brown to ight gray and corky with deep furrows that separate short, pointed ridges.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Native Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Rabbits
    Urban Conditions