2013

 
 

Fraxinus pennsylvanica is a tree with some confusing common names. In the United States it's known as Green ash, in Britain and Ireland it's known as Red ash, in Canada it’s Red or Green ash and in Australia there is a Red ash but it’s a totally different genus. Regardless of the common name it is a species of ash native to eastern and central North America, stretching from Canada to Florida and west to Texas; which is an amazing range of conditions. 

Green (Red) ash is a handsome oval to vase shaped tree of a medium to large size, approximately 60 feet in height and 40 in width. Its stout, upright branches bear drooping twigs that sweep upward at the tips giving it a form more graceful than most trees. And it becomes more wide-spread with age, making it one of the best shade trees available. Its leaves are lance shaped and glossy dark green and in autumn will turn an excellent clear yellow. At that time of year, ashes, combined with maples and oaks, are a striking display. And it's fast growing. In warm climes, with plenty of moisture, it will grow as much as 6 to 10 feet in a year. And since it can take most soil types and conditions, Green (Red) ash is a favourite of urban planners. If there is a drawback, it might be seed production. Ashes are dioecious and female trees can produce bumper crops of small winged seeds in good years. For the fastidious gardener this may be a distraction. The remedy, of course, is to site it away from pavement or select only male cultivars. On the other hand, the gardener interested in providing a wildlife friendly environment will be well served by having ash trees since these same seeds are such a blessing to wildlife.

Green (Red) ash is both practical, ornamental and tough as nails. It grows well across southern Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom as well as Australia and New Zealand. It also has an amazing number of cultivars with superior characteristics but the basic species remains quite desirable. And don’t forget the impressive Manna ash, Fraxinus ornus or White ash, Fraxinus americana.

Green ash / Red ash

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