How to Identify Ash Wood


Ash tree is a beautiful specimen of tree, with its origins coming from the olive and lilac family. It is a deciduous tree. It is found throughout North America in several varieties, including white ash, black ash, green ash, pumpkin ash and many others. The ash has come under attack in recent years from the emerald ash borer. Firewood and fallen ash trees often harbor the insect. Knowing how to identify ash is important for management.

Step 1

Obtain a tree field guide from your local university extension.

Step 2

Inspect the branches for bud and leaf arrangement. According to Michigan State University branches and buds are arranged directly across from each other and are not staggered. Leaves are compounded and directly across from each other on the branch, and are composed of five to 11 leaflets.

Step 3

Inspect the area where the leaf protrudes from the branch. Ash trees exhibit a leaf scar directly beneath where the leaf protrudes.

Step 4

Examine the bark of the tree. Ash trees have a diamond pattern on the bark when mature. Young trees have a smooth bark with few markings.

Step 5

Look at the tree for seeds. Ash tree seeds are oar shaped, occurring in clusters that hang down from the tree.

Step 6

Examine the rings of the exposed wood when cut. Ash has ring-porous wood. Ring-porous wood has two regions, according to the University of Minnesota, with larger pores for spring wood and smaller pores for summer wood. Use the whole tree to determine ash wood, since oak and elm also have porous exposed wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Field guide


  • Emerald Ash Borer: Ash Tree Identification
  • Michigan State University: Distinguishing Ash From Other Common Trees
  • University of Minnesota Extension: What's in That Wood Pile
Keywords: Identify ash wood, Ash borer, Ash wood

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.