About Ash Wood

Overview

Ash wood comes from trees in the Fraxinus genus, which are related to olive trees. Most commercially used ash wood comes from F. Americana (white ash) and F. Nigra (black ash), according to the Wood Box. There are a wide range of uses for ash wood, from baseball bats to furniture.

Identification

Ash wood is harvested primarily from white and black ash trees, which are large, deciduous trees. They can reach up to 80 feet in height, according to Tree Help. The trees have foliage that is a deep green color in the summer, and a lovely purple or yellow color in the fall. This, coupled with their size and fast growth rate, makes ash trees a popular choice with home gardeners who want a shade tree. In the wild, the trees do not grow in groves, but are scattered throughout deciduous forests all over North America.

Culture

Ash wood grows best in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) growing zones 3 to 9, according to Tree Help. The trees need full sun to thrive and rich, loamy, moist soil. They also need plenty of room to spread out, as the width of the canopy of these trees is often equal to their height.

Features

Ash wood is medium to light-brown in color, and is highly desirable for its flexibility and strength, according to Tree Help. The grain is straight and porous. It is also very light, especially when compared with its strength. This strength-to-weight ratio makes ash wood a popular choice when it comes to creating sports equipment, such as baseball bats, hockey sticks and canoe paddles. White ash has a slightly "yellower" color than black ash.

Uses

Ash is used to make sporting equipment, tool handles, decorative objects and casual furniture. It is also used to make boats, snowshoes and other items that have strong curves. Historically, ash wood was used to make containers for food, such as bowls, because the wood does not have a strong scent, and thus did not affect the taste of the food. Ash wood is a versatile wood and can be used whenever a lightweight but supple wood is needed.

Problems

Ash wood can be damaged by boring insects, particularly the ash sawfly. This fly attacks only cut wood, or wood on the tree that is dying, so it does not pose a threat to the life of the tree. What it does do is ruin the commercial value of the ash wood, because it burrows into the sapwood and destroys it. The best way to control for this problem is to kill the flies with an insecticide when they hatch in early June, before they can burrow into the wood.

Keywords: ash wood information, Fraxinus americana, about ash wood

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. She has worked as an educator and now writes academic research content for EBSCO Publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.