Fraxinus americana

White Ash




  • native to eastern North America
  • hardy to zone 3
  • a significant forest tree species in the northeastern U.S.

Habit and Form

  • a large deciduous tree
  • 60' to 70' tall
  • shape is oval in youth, becoming more rounded with age
  • branching is upright and spreading
  • branches are distributed evenly in the crown

Summer Foliage

  • opposite, pinnately compound leaves
  • leaves are 8" to 15" long
  • leaves have 5 to 9 leaflets
  • leaflets can be anywhere from 2" to 6" long
  • leaflets have a narrow ovate shape and acuminate leaf tips
  • leaf color is dark green above and lighter below

Autumn Foliage

  • turning yellowish with an overlay of burgundy or purple
  • can be quite showy on the best specimens


  • dioecious, with male and female plants
  • small flowers that are green, purple and black
  • not ornamentally important
  • bloom time is mid to late April


  • female plants produce samaras
  • large numbers of fruit can be produced
  • samaras are 1" to 2" long and narrow
  • some describe them as paddle-shaped
  • color changes from green to tan as they mature
  • not ornamentally important


  • relatively attractive
  • uniformly furrowed with even diamond-shaped pattern
  • color is light to dark gray


  • full sun
  • prefers moist, deep, fertile soils for best growth
  • quite soil adaptable
  • soil pH is not critical
  • easily transplanted and established
  • tolerant of poorly-drained soils

Landscape Use

  • male plants are preferred for landscape purposes
  • lawn tree
  • shade tree
  • street tree
  • difficult growing sites
  • excellent for parks and campuses
  • wood is used for baseball bats


  • female trees produce lots of seed, leading to numerous unwanted seedlings
  • ash dieback (mycoplasma)
  • ash borers
  • ash flower galls (male plants) caused by a mite
  • ash yellows

ID Features

  • opposite leaves
  • pinnately compound leaves
  • female plants with paddle-shaped samaras
  • uniform, diamond-shaped ridge and furrow pattern on bark
  • leaf scars with a notch in them at top
  • twigs gray and buds brown
  • twigs stout


  • by bud grafting
  • by seed


'Autumn Applause' (Autumn Applause®) - This popular form produces a rounded, dense crown held by a straight trunk. The mature height is 50' tall and fall color is reported to be very good -- deep red.

'Greenspire' (Greenspire®) - This is an upright, narrow form that reaches 40' tall and 30' wide. Summer foliage is a good dark green and fall color is dark orange.

'Jeffnor' (Northern Blaze™) - A Canadian selection, this seedless plant is notable for its extreme hardiness and resistance to winter damage. The growth habit is upright-oval to 60' tall and perhaps half as wide, and the fall color reportedly is purple.

'Jungiger' (Autumn Purple®) - This seedless ash is among the most common commercial selections and one of the best. It grows rapidly and forms a rounded crown 50' tall and slightly less wide. The leaves are a fine deep green in summer, becoming red-purple come fall.

'Skycole' (Skyline®) - Good form and growth rate are this tree's primary attributes, as it grows symmetrically to 50' tall with a strong central leader and lustrous green leaves that turn orange or red in fall.

© Copyright Mark H. Brand, 1997-2015.

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Citation and Acknowledgements: University of Connecticut Plant Database,, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.