Ash Tree Varieties: 11 Most Popular Ash Trees
A part of the Fraxinus genus, ash trees are typically 80-120 feet tall. These are popular lawn and street shade trees that are deciduous in nature with a beautiful appeal. According to horticulture experts, there are more than sixty ash tree varieties. This guide will discuss the top varieties of ash trees, ash tree care, and their many uses.
- Ash Tree Trivia
- Where Do Ash Trees Grow?
- Different Kinds of Ash Trees
- Ash Tree Leaves
- Ash Tree Flowers
- Ash Tree Seeds
- Ash Tree Uses
- Frequently Asked Questions
Ash Tree Meaning
Described by Linnaeus for the first time in 1753, Ash Trees are prevalent in Asia, North America, and Europe. They have many meanings – religious, magical, historical, and symbolic.
A. Religious and Spiritual meaning
Different types of ash trees have different religious and mystical significance. People from European cultures burn ash wood to ward off the evil spirits with its smoke. People in Greece dedicated Ash trees to the God of the Sun and the Seas, Poseidon. Further, as per the Norse mythology, it is called the “Tree of Life” from which humanity sprang.
B. Poetic and Musical meaning
In music, the Ash Grove finds use in several different lyrics. Some tunes are rural themes, while others are specific to ash trees. European poets also employ ash references in their works. It is also a vital aspect of the poetry in Norse mythology.
C. Language of Flowers
The language of flowers also assigns meaning to different blossoms. As part of it, the blossoms of all types of ash trees symbolize grandeur.
D. Magical Associations and Meanings
John Gerard, an Elizabethan herbalist, mentioned in his writings that ash trees had a magical impact. Believe it or not, he writes that ash trees could even scare the snakes. Moreover, wearing the ash leaves on the body stuffed in a boot or a pocket works as a snake deterrent.
Further, varieties like Fraxinus excelsior or Common Ash help cure warts. In addition, hernia sufferers also saw some relief with the ash tree.
Where Do Ash Trees Grow?
The Ash trees are native to mesophytic hardwood forests. You can find them southwest to eastern Texas, south to northern Florida, and from Minnesota to Nova Scotia. Some isolated populations of Ash trees are also prevalent in Colorado, Wyoming, and Texas. You can also spot specimens in Hawaii.
How Many of These Ash Trees Have You Seen?
1. White Ash
Botanically known as the Fraxinus Americana, White Ash is a remarkable tree that grows in USDA growing zones three through nine. Native to Eastern North America, White Ash is also called the Biltmore ash. These types of ash trees are popular as shade trees.
It is a mid-sized tree that grows between fifty to eighty feet upon maturity. The tree has a decent 40 to 50 feet spread. These ash tree varieties have a medium to fast-growing rate. They grow about 13-24 inches per year. These kinds of ash trees have compound leaves that are about eight to fifteen inches in length. Every single leaf has five to nine green leaflets.
The plant starts growing in a pyramidal shape, but as it ages, it develops a full round crown. There are multiple varieties under white ash, but the largest ones can be seen in the park, towering over the woodland canopy with their beautiful crown on the top.
2. Black Ash
Botanically known as the Fraxinus nigra, these trees grow widely in the wetlands and swamps. Native to Canada and the northeast corner of the United States, these types of ash trees have a smooth bark while they are still young.
However, as the plant ages, the bark gets corky and changes its color to gray. It has purple-hued petal-less flowers packed in clusters.
Of the different kinds of ash trees, these are a highly slow-growing specie. But, studies suggest that they grow better in a well-drained site. But, with age, they develop into slender and tall trees. These ash tree varieties are relatively weaker, softer, and lighter than the white and green varieties.
It grows upright to 70 feet and develops a rounded crown. It has attractive feather-compound leaves, each completed with seven to eleven toothed leaflets. During the fall season, the leaflets die and drop onto the ground.
Of the different types of ash trees, the black ash founds wide applications. Its wood is durable, soft, and heavy, employed in making cabinets and interior finishing. Flatted wood strips help make woven chair seats and baskets.
3. Green Ash
Botanically known as the Fraxinus pennsylvanica, the Green ash is one of the fast-growing ash tree varieties. Of the different kinds of ash trees, these have a long lifespan and usually live for over a century. Their average lifespan is about 120 years. You can find them in both home and conservation settings.
They grow through USDA hardiness zone three through nine. Native to eastern North America, these giant shade plants are popular in Northern Florida, Texas, and eastern Canada. Of the different types of ash trees, these are the most adaptable.
They have compound leaves packed with five to nine leaflets, which are about as long as your hand. Leaflets have a tapering bottom with a long oval shape. Foliage is green from the front, and its base is on the lighter side.
You can see them thriving in a full-sun site with well-drained, moist soils. But fortunately for growers, these can live in different soil conditions. They can be 40 feet wide and 70 feet high if exposed to the right conditions. But, when planting, ensure you have ample space in your yard to accommodate them.
4. European Ash Trees
Botanically known as the Fraxinus excelsior, these ash tree varieties grow in USDA zones six through eight. Some even refer to it as the common ash. Native to Scandinavia, such ash trees are prevalent in several parts of southwestern Asia. They are also present across Europe.
Of the different types of ash trees, these are one of the taller species that grow about 70 feet high. They have compound leaves, each with seven to thirteen leaflets. Unlike the other different kinds of ash trees, these have black buds and are not brown. It has a flexible wood, which finds excessive use in manufacturing bows, tennis rackets, and snooker poles.
5. Manna Ash
Botanically known as Fraxinus Ornus, these ash tree varieties have a small growing range. Christened after a sacred food mentioned in the Holy Bible, they are present in Asia and Europe only.
Also known as the Southern European Flowering Ash Tree, these have a high ornamental value. Furniture makers value them for lumber. Native to Europe’s southernmost regions, people widely use the Manna ash tree for medicinal purposes because of the sap it yields.
You will find most Manna trees between 49-82 feet. The plant has beautiful fall leaves, a smooth bark, and spectacular flowers, appreciated for their creamy white hue. During the autumn, the leaves go from green to yellow to purple. Its bark is its primary distinguishing factor. It is dark grey and remains smooth even on maturity.
6. Blue Ash
Botanically known as the Fraxinus Quandrangulata, the Blue Ash Tree may not be as durable as the white ash tree varieties, but they are a close second. Blue Ash gets its name from its tendency of the inner bark to change its color to green on exposure to air. They are also widely used to extract the blue color for natural dyeing.
They have a light to medium brown heartwood, somewhat darker than the white ash. However, both white and blue ash have a relatively similar texture. It has 1,290 pounds-force Janka hardness.
Native to the midwestern area of the United States, the blue ash tree grows about sixty to seventy feet. Its diamond-shaped furrowing pattern helps it stand out. Their leaves are dark-green.
7. Oregon Ash
Botanically known as the Fraxinus latifolia, Oregon Ash is a large to medium tree. It is a member of the Oleaceae (olive) family. Such kinds of ash trees have a long lifespan and usually, live for up to 250 years.
Native to western North America and Pacific Northwest, these are fast-growing types of ash trees but their growth slows down as they approach maturity. Oregon grows about twenty-five feet high. Their trunk diameter is between 30 to 80 cm.
It has dioecious flowers, meaning both male and female parts are in separate flowers. Oregon ash produces fruit only when the three is about two to three decades old. It has compound leaves with five to nine leaflets. When grown in the wild, the plant yields a broadly shaped crown, much like the maple trees. It needs saturated and fertile soil to thrive.
8. Carolina Ash
Botanically known as Fraxinus Caroliana, Carolina grows in USDA zones seven through nine. Native to subtropical southern U.S. and Cuba, you can find Carolina Ash Tree in Carolina. It grows up to thirty to forty feet.
Many refer to it as water ash or pop ash because of its high prevalence near the river banks or the swamplands. It is a shade-tolerant variety with a broader wing with a wine-stained, rosy hue. Typically, they have splotchy and scaly bark, and the tree’s base is engorged. Its leaflets are green and glossy on top and pale green on the other side.
9. California Trees
Botanically known as Fraxinus dipetala, these are native to Nevada, Arizona, and California. Though there are different types of ash trees, the California trees are not as prominent or tall as others. But, they have their unique attributes. Once you plant the tree, it requires some care and maintenance. Please guard the shrub against ingestion from the emerald ash borer.
California ash tree thrives in USDA zones seven through nine. It thrives in dry and warm weather. But, you must plant it in full sun for proper growth. It is drought-tolerant. So, if living in an area with moderate rainfall, the rain can suffice the plant’s requirements. Its small white flowers are distinctive and attractive. They have two petals each. It is the reason many refer to California ash as the two-petal ash.
It is more like a shrub with a twenty-one feet height. The plant also has a distinctive leaf structure. Its leaves grow in small clusters with seven leaves. It has light green leaves, but in the autumn months, the leaves turn yellow and drop. The plant has serrated edges and may result in an itch if brought in direct contact with the skin. They have a mystic fragrance.
10. Gregg Ash
Botanically known as the Fraxinus Greggii, Gregg is an evergreen shrub. However, you can train it to be a tree. These are pretty low maintenance as shrubs, but they need some tending as trees. Gregg grows in USDA zones seven through ten. They need partial or full sun to thrive and bloom in all seasons.
These types of ash trees are easiest to identify from the other varieties. It has smooth, gray barks and upward pointing branches. The leaves are small and leathery and about two inches long. Its keys are packed in smaller clusters and turn light brown upon maturity. Gregg grows about twenty feet tall and is a beautiful decorative plant. People employ it for foundation, hedges, and clumps.
Its foliage varies from light to mid-green. The plant prospers in neutral to mildly alkaline soil. It can also withstand rocky soil but needs humid, fertile, well-drained sand, chalk, loam, or clay-based soil to thrive.
Botanically known as the Fraxinus velutina, the Velvet ash tree is christened so because of the downy-velvety texture of its new shoots. It is also known as Modesto ash, Dixie white ash, and Arizona ash.
These are fast-growing kinds of ash trees and thrive in USDA zones seven through ten. Native to Southwestern North America, these thrive in alkaline and wet soils. They grow about thirty to fifty feet and are smaller than the giant ashes. It has finely serrated foliage with five to seven leaflets per compound leaf.
These ash tree varieties are about thirty to fifty feet. The trees grow in compacted soil in urban and drought-tolerant settings. If you want a tree that grows at a fast pace, this can be your go-to pick.
Related: How fast do ash trees grow?
Ash Tree Leaves
Ash tree leaves may vary from one variety to another. But, typically, they have compound leaves. These are composed of five to nine leaflets that stem from one bud. They have oppositely arranged and pinnately compound leaflets alongside the stem. They have variable leaf colors and differ from one specie to another.
Ash Tree Flowers
Ash tree is a vital inclusion in the forests, which acts as a habitat and food for several animal species. Most towering species protect the smaller trees growing underneath, and their flowers support several pollinators too.
Almost all species have beautiful dioecious flowers. It implies that both male and female portions of the flowers grow on separate trees. But for the female ash to yield characteristic winged seeds, they seek a male tree to support pollination.
Ash Tree Seeds
When ash trees sexually mature, they produce fruit with flair. It is known as a samara, but many also refer to it as helicopter seeds or keys. The fruits have unique winged seeds that fly far on the wind. You can easily spot their elongated seeds and differentiate them from others.
Ash Tree Uses
Different kinds of ash trees have different uses:
A. In gastronomy
- Different chewing gums come from various species, and their tastes depend on them as tree variety.
- It has refreshing leaves and edible barks.
- Gum from the tree helps sweeten the food.
- Ash trees also help in making candies and sweets.
- Young fruits help flavor marinades and relieve rheumatism pains.
B. In Medicine
- Ash tree leaves work as diuretics and laxatives. They help lower cellulite. You can consume with your regular diet to amplify waste evacuation through urine.
- They have anti-rheumatism and anti-inflammatory properties that aid in treating rheumatism, arthrosis, and arthritis.
- It also helps cure gout.
- White ash helps treat dysmenorrhea.
- Chewing gums prepared from the tree also yields mannitol, a purgative polyalcohol that finds high use in medicine.
C. Galenic forms and uses
- Juices from the boiled ash tree leaves can work as an infusion.
- They also help prepare a tincture or medicinal wine.
- The leaves elevate joint pains.
D. Other uses
- Some use ash tree leaves as a potent anti-snake deterrent.
Common FAQs About Different Types Of Ash Trees
Ques 1. What are the two types of ash?
Ans. Coal ash and wood ash are the two most talked-about types of ash.
Ques 2. Which ash tree is the smallest?
Ans. California ash is the smallest of all ash trees.
Ques 3. Do ash trees need lots of water?
Ans. Ideally, during summers, you can water all types of ash trees once every seven to ten days up to a depth of 24 to 36 inches. During the fall and spring seasons, you can reduce the frequency and water the plant once in 10 to 21 days. In the winters, water them once every 14 to 21 days.
Ques 4. How to care for ash trees?
Ans. It is not the easiest to care for the young ash tree varieties, but as the plant matures, providing the proper care gets more simplified. However, the plant needs regular feeding, watering, pruning, soil, and protection from diseases and pests to grow well.
- All species seek well-drained and somewhat sandy soil.
- Gardens with heavy soil can amend with organic materials and sand.
- Typically, the soil should be neutral to acidic with a pH between 5.8-6.8.
- You can add mulch for water retention.
- The plant needs more water in the initial few years than in the later years.
- So, till the plant develops a solid root system (for the first two years), you need to give the plant at least two inches of water per week.
- After that, you can reduce the watering frequency to only once per week. You can reduce it to once in two weeks in the winter months.
- If you performed a soil assessment before planting, your ash trees might never need fertilizer.
- However, a generous mix of slow-release organic compost and manure can help the plant grow better. It can help the plant develop its roots.
- However, if the tree depicts a slow growth rate, you can use a nitrogen-high fertilizer to boost growth.
- If you have a flowering plant, opt for a phosphorous-heavy fertilizer.
- You can prune the plant to remove damaged and dead or broken branches. Trimming also helps maintain the plant’s visual appeal.
Pests and disease
- Emerald Ash borer is one of the top pests infecting the plants. Hence, ensure that the emerald ash borer infestation is nowhere in your garden’s 10 miles radius. Unfortunately, there is no cure. You have to take professional help once infected.
Ques 5. How fast do ash trees grow?
Ans. Most kinds of ash trees have a moderate growth rate and grow at about one to two feet a year.