The Ash are hardy, few insects or disease problems, and many can be planted from Zones 2 to 9. The Ash branches are strong, the wood is heavy and dense which makes for excellent firewood, and they make great shade trees. Many of the Ash have brilliant fall color, in particular the newer hybrid varieties. Overall, for shade, beauty, and to have a moderately fast growing tree to fill in that empty space in the landscape design... plant an Ash!
Of the American Ashes, Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) is the most widely distributed, but not the most common. Its natural range extends across the entire east half of the country, from northern Florida westward to the east half of Texas, northward through eastern Montana, the Canadian plains, and across the lakes and throughout New England. As an ornamental, they are planted nationwide.
Typically a bottom-land tree, in moist drainages and places where water accumulates, there is wide variation among the three or more geographical ecotypes. Green Ash is also found growing on upland and drier soil types, places where the soils are sandy or coarse, and also where soil alkalinity is high (like many places throughout the plains). As long as there is moisture or rainfall, the Ash seems tolerant and tends to thrive. Although not really a drought tolerant tree, the ecotypic variation has shown that Ash from the northwestern part of the natural range were more drought tolerant than the central or eastern populations. The northern trees were more winter hardy, but grew slower, than southern Green Ash. A good analogy would be our voice dialects, which varies considerably across the nation.
Green Ash might be called a "plain-Jane" regular green tree. The leaves are oppositely pinnate with 3 to 11 leaflets, generally simple, entire to finely toothed margins. The bark is smooth to shallowly furrowed in a diamond shaped pattern, often charcoal gray in color. The thick winter stems have large buds where the terminal bud is larger than the laterals. The tiny greenish male and female flowers are sometimes bisexual (dioecious or polygamous), and borne in terminal or branched clusters. And by mid to late summer, the tree is covered with clusters of one-seeded sharply pointed winged seeds, known as samaras.
This is a tree that has strong apical dominance, so until about fifteen feet in height, typically there is little branching. Even when removing the terminal buds, the lateral buds don't tend to take over, but rather adventitious buds already formed above the lateral buds, dominate and keep the tree growing upwards instead of broader. It's like the lateral buds serve no purpose until the seedling becomes a sapling. Widely planted as a shelterbelt tree, this very wind resistant solid tree averaged just under a foot and a half growth per year for the first five to ten years , but planted ornamentally, tree growth averages two feet or more a year. Growth rates will vary, and reports of four to six feet a year are fairly common. Typically the Green Ash will grow 45 to 60 feet tall, and less than half as broad. The trunks may grow up to three feet across, and taller trees may reach 80 or more feet and four feet across. The largest tree reported is in Missouri's Big Oak Tree State Park measuring 106 feet tall and over four feet in diameter.
The wood is heavy and strong, and the (second) best wood to use for baseball bats comes from Green Ash. The roots are shallow, but they are very wind-firm. They make an excellent shade tree, and have few pests or other problems. You have probably seen this tree many times, but never thought twice about it. They are very common, but inconspicuous.
With the same basic charaterisitics of the Ashes, the Carolina Ash, and Arizona Ash, are good hardy trees for many uses. These are more the look of the Green, but the Arizona is most hardy in the hotter drier regions (as the name implies).
How to grow these. Simply stated, these grow best in moist well-drained fertile soils with full sun. Most soils can be alright, but plenty of water and some added fertilizer will improve their growth and survival. If your soils are rocky, heavy clay, or very sandy, then add compost or other materials mixed into the planting spot. Planting instructions are included with each order, or can be read on the Nursery webpage.
This season, we have a very limited supply of Ash to offer. Our supply and selection of Ash depends on how well they do in the
beds. At this point, we are looking at late January before we can start shipping them, and for many areas, we will start shipping in April. Consider these -
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Last Update: 01/03/2014
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