Green Ash Tree

Green Ash Tree – Fraxinus pennsylvanica


The most widely planted Ash tree in the U.S. is the Green Ash tree; a tree that is very cold hardy and grows as a native American tree throughout the Eastern United States and westward to East Texas and North to Canada.


As a native American tree the Green Ash was found growing abundantly in Pennsylvania by the great American explorer and botanist, John Bartram, who discovered it flourishing near Philadelphia, PA in 1790.


The Green Ash Tree is a deciduous, fast growing tree that normally reaches a height of 50 to 80 feet with a spreading canopy width of one half the total height. This deciduous tree is cold hardy from zone 2-9, which is an unusual characteristic for fast growing trees, since the tree grows 4-6 feet each year. Most fast growing trees are not very cold hardy, because the new wood tissue of most trees that grow fast is soft and delicate and susceptible to cold damage.


The wood of Green Ash trees forms strong branches, and the density of the Green Ash fibers forms a heavy wood with a desirable mosaic grain that is popular in making furniture. The finished wood grain is also spectacular when used to make guitars and the Green Ash wood creates an harmonious, favorable tonal quality for musicians' instruments. Baseball bats and tool handles are made from the heavy dense Green Ash wood, and in Northern States, Green Ash is a popular slow burning firewood.


Other uses of Green Ash trees than Shade Trees can be commonly seen as ornamental yard trees, planted on city street, windbreaks in the Western States, and as specimens in public places and in parks or near commercial buildings.


The Green Ash tree is easily transplanted, showing little shock, and the adaptability appears to be unrivaled by other shade trees. Although the Green Ash tree is most commonly found growing as a native tree in wet areas and water logged soils, it will also survive in poor sandy soils or clay. Extreme droughts appear harmless to the Green Ash. In the western U.S. the Green Ash tree is widely used as fast growing windbreaks that grow strong in alkaline soils of salty pH ranges up to 7, but the trees also tolerate acidic pH values as low as 3.


The Green Ash tree is in the Olive Tree (Oleaceae) family, and the smooth bark is colored gray-brown until very old, when it becomes diamond furrowed. The flowers form in the spring and grow into clusters of winged seeds called “Samara”. The Green Ash seeds are excellent food plot trees for birds and many wildlife mammals. The trees form protective cover for wildlife animals and are nesting sites for birds.


The canopy of the Green Ash Trees is shaped pyramidal or globular, and the leaves are opposite-just like the branching habit that shows opposite placement. The compound pinnate leaves are one foot long, and the leaflets are 4 inches long and grow in groups of 7 to 11 along the axis. The bright green leaves are lighter in color underneath and turn into an attractive lemon yellow color in the fall.


The Green Ash tree can live to be 100 years old with a 3 foot trunk diameter. Very few pests or diseases bother the Green Ash tree, and the root system is shallow but extensive and will hold the tree up during windstorms, because of the vast fibrous root system that stretches out underneath the tree.