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Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
FRAK-si-nus pen-sil-VAN-ih-kuh
Description

Green Ash is a deciduous tree that may grow 50 to 120 feet tall. The leaves are opposite and pinnately compound with 7-9 leaflets. The bark is gray-brown with shallow furrows and crisscrossing ridges which form x-patterns. Small, light green to purple flowers, with no petals, mature in loose panicles in early spring. The tree produces a single-winged, dry, flattened samara with a slender, thin seed cavity that matures in the fall.

Planting new green ash trees is no longer recommended given the susceptibility of this tree to the emerald ash borer. Ash trees have typically been used over time in a variety of applications including shade trees, street tree or lawn trees. Young branches, petioles, rachises, petiolules pubescent to glabrous.

This plant transplants well and grows in a variety of locations and soils. They are also very adaptable as they are drought, wind, and salt tolerant.

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Seasons of Interest: 

     Leaves: Fall         Flower:   Spring               Fruit/Seed: Fall

Insects, Diseases, and Other Pest Problems:  The Emerald ash borer will typically kill an ash tree within 3-5 years after infestation. Once infestation occurs, it is very difficult to eradicate this pest which feeds under the bark and bores into wood. This borer now constitutes a serious threat to all species of ash in North America. Green ash trees are generally susceptible to a number of additional insect problems including ash borer, lilac borer, carpenter worm, oyster shell scale, leaf miners, fall webworms, ash sawflies, and ash leaf curl aphid. Potential disease problems include fungal leaf spots, powdery mildew, rust, anthracnose, cankers, and ash yellows. General ash decline is also a concern. Brittle branches are susceptible to damage from high winds and snow/ice.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Opposite, pinnately compound leaves
  • dark reddish-brown buds, pubescent
  • Stout, gray twigs

Medium to large deciduous tree grows to 50' to 70' tall. 

Showy, yellow fall color can be inconsistent, fast growth rate, good as a lawn tree, shade tree, street tree. Susceptible to pest/disease problems. 

Tolerates alkaline soil, drought, moderate salt, wind. It requires full sun.

 

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cimmzan'
    Seedless selection notable for its uniform upright growth habit, good fall color - red and orange shades.
  • 'Patmore'
    Seedless, good disease and insect resistance and handsome, uniform habit. Fall color is yellow.
  • var. Dakota Centennial Lanceolata
Tags:
#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#shade tree#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#salt tolerant#host plant#rabbit resistant#windbreak#park#street tree#playground#host#small mammals#food source#cpp#wind tolerant#low flammability#NC native#beavers#porcupines#deer resistant#children's garden#fire resistant#edible seeds#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#fantz#food source fall
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Cimmzan'
    Seedless selection notable for its uniform upright growth habit, good fall color - red and orange shades.
  • 'Patmore'
    Seedless, good disease and insect resistance and handsome, uniform habit. Fall color is yellow.
  • var. Dakota Centennial Lanceolata
Tags:
#butterflies#deciduous#fall color#birds#shade tree#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#salt tolerant#host plant#rabbit resistant#windbreak#park#street tree#playground#host#small mammals#food source#cpp#wind tolerant#low flammability#NC native#beavers#porcupines#deer resistant#children's garden#fire resistant#edible seeds#pollinator plant#Braham Arboretum#fantz#food source fall
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Fraxinus
    Species:
    pennsylvanica
    Family:
    Oleaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Canada to Western Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Distribution:
    Extending from Nova Scotia to Alberta south to Florida and Texas. Throughout most of U.S. except western states.
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    The Green ash is a host plant for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly and many moths.  The bark is eaten by rabbits, porcupines, and beavers.  Its foliage is browsed by white-tailed deer, seeds are eaten by birds, squirrels, and other small mammals.
    Play Value:
    Buffer
    Edible fruit
    Pieces Used in Games
    Shade
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wind Break
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 50 ft. 0 in. - 120 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 35 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Irregular
    Pyramidal
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Fertilized female flowers give way to drooping clusters of winged samaras (to 2” long) that ripen in fall and may persist on the tree throughout winter. Samaras have wing extending less than half body length. Samaras in large numbers, 1" to 2" long and narrow, color changes from green to tan as they mature.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    The Green ash is primarily dioecious (separate male and female trees). Clusters of apetalous purplish male and female flowers appear on separate trees in April-May after the foliage emerges.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaf of the Green Ash features opposite, odd-pinnate compound leaves, each with 5-9 leaflets. Oval to oblong-lanceolate leaflets (3-4” long) are medium green above and below. The foliage turns yellow in fall, with the quality of the fall color often varying considerably from year to year. 7 to 11 leaflets entire to serrate, glabrous to pubescent below. Opposite, odd pinnately compound, up to 1 foot long, 5 to 9 leaflets, each 2" to 5" long with smooth or toothed margins. Leaflets are oblong-lanceolate and medium to dark green, glabrous above, pubescent below.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    The bark is gray-brown with shallow furrows and crisscrossing ridges which form x-patterns.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Lenticels:
    Conspicuous
    Stem Description:
    Grey and stout, leaf scars. Dark rusty brown, woolly, conspicuous.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Street Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Fire
    Rabbits
    Salt
    Wind