Green Ash

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Fraxinus pennsylvanica is commonly known as Green Ash or Red Ash. It is a species of Ash tree that is native to central and eastern North America. It can be found in Nova Scotia, Alberta, Colorado, Florida and Texas. It is sometimes also known as the downy ash, water ash or swamp ash. It is a fast growing tree when located on moist bottomlands, and is extremely resistant to extreme climates once it gets established in an area.


The Green Ash is a medium-sized deciduous tree that can reach heights o up to twenty five meters, and very rarely, forty five meters. Its trunk can be up to sixty centimetres in diameter. Young trees have a smooth, grey bark, which thicken and become fissured as the tree grows older.

In winter the buds are reddish-brown and have a velvety texture to them. The autumn colour of the tree is golden-yellow and it is one of the earliest trees to change colour, and you will find that it will be in its autumn colour as early as Labour Day.

Flowers and fruits

The Green Ash has conspicuous flowers that have no petals. They are formed in dense clusters called panicles towards the ends of the twigs. Male and female flowers are produced on different trees. They are produced in spring, just like the new leaves. They are wind-pollinated.

The fruit of this tree is a straw-coloured winged samara that contains one single seed. It is one to two and a half inches long and is produced in branching, dense clusters. The seed has an apical wing that is elongated.


Because of how easy this plant is to establish compared to other trees, it is used very commonly to provide windbreaks in the prairie states and provinces and in the plains it is planted in the middle rows of multi-rowed windbreaks. It is also used in single row windbreaks, although they will eventually be less effective because the lower branches will be lost due to the tree aging.

The good form of this tree and its resistance to disease mean that it is also planted extensively as an ornamental and shade tree. It is very important in the landscaping industry due to these reasons.

The wood of the Green Ash is popularly used for making guitars as it is a bit lighter than white ash wood, but still carries the same tone. It gives a bright sound that sustains for a long period, and the wood grain is such that it is aesthetically pleasing to a majority of guitar players.

This tree is quite important to wildlife. The winged samaras are eaten by a few birds and mammals such as rodents and wild turkey. Mule deer and whitetail deer also feed on the twigs and foliage of this tree.

Care Tips

With this tree, you need to watch out for the carpenter worm and the green ash borer as they cause serious problems with this species of tree. As the Green Ash grows older, rust and ashflower fall might begin to affect it. Seedlings of this tree can grow in most conditions, but if planted in weedy conditions its growth rate will be reduced significantly.

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Author: Tammy Sons

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