Green Ash (Pennsylvanica)

The Green Ash (Pennsylvanica) is generally described as a perennial tree. This is native to the U.S. (United States) has its most active growth period in the spring and summer . The greatest bloom is usually observed in the late spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the spring and continuing until summer. Leaves are not retained year to year. The Green Ash (Pennsylvanica) has a short life span relative to most other plant species and a rapid growth rate. At maturity, the typical Green Ash (Pennsylvanica) will reach up to 70 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 35 feet.

The Green Ash (Pennsylvanica) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by bare root, container, seed. It has a moderate ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have medium vigor. Note that cold stratification is not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -43°F. has medium tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Windbreak: Plant green ash in the central rows of multi-row windbreaks. It can also be used for single-row windbreaks, although loss of lower branches with age reduces effectiveness.

Wildlife: Green ash is of moderate importance to wildlife. The winged seeds (samaras) are eaten by a number of birds and mammals including wild turkey and rodents. Whitetail and mule deer browse the twigs and foliage.

Recreation and Beautification: Green ash is extensively planted as a shade and ornamental tree. New clones have increased its importance in the landscaping industry.

General Characteristics

Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marsh., green ash, is a deciduous, medium-sized tree with an open, irregular crown reaching about 50 feet in height. Native to eastern North America and is fairly common west to Wyoming and Colorado along plains watercourses at elevations below 6,000 feet. The tree is fast growing on moist bottomlands, and is extremely hardy to climatic extremes once established.

Fruits are straw-colored, one-seeded, winged (samaras), 1 to 2 1/2 inches long, borne in dense branching clusters; flowers are inconspicuous, without petals, borne in dense clusters (panicles) near the ends of the twigs, male and female flowers on separate trees; leaves are opposite, pinnately compound, 4 to 6 inches long, 7 to 9 leaflets, narrowly elliptical, long-pointed, entire, bright green above, paler below; stem straight, bark thin with network of interlacing ridges, brown to dark gray, twigs smooth; roots are shallow, wide-spreading.

Cultivation and Care

Green ash is comparatively easy to establish, and has been widely used for windbreaks in the plains and prairie states and provinces. The seedling will withstand weedy conditions, but at reduced growth rates.

General Upkeep and Control

Green ash is not as rapid growing as red maple or elm, so it tends to be crowded out over time by its faster growing cohorts. Management to retain green ash includes control of competition.

Deer will browse green ash seedlings so protective netting may be required where pressure is heavy.

Pests and Potential Problems Green ash borer and carpenter worm can be a serious problem in this tree species. Rust and ashflower gall might cause concern in some years. Ash yellow is a disease that has been associated with sever growth reductions and/or dieback in areas of the eastern Great Plains.

Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) Green ash is a variable species and commonly accepted botanical varieties intergrade to some extent, especially Fraxinus pennsylvanica var. subintegerrima and Fraxinus pennsylvanica var. lanceolata. ‘Cardan’ (MT) is recommended for planting in the Northern Great Plains states. Green ash seedlings are available at most commercial hardwood nurseries.

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Rapid
General Type Tree
Growth Period Spring, Summer
Growth Duration Perennial
Lifespan Short
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Late Spring
Displays Fall Colors Yes
Shape/Growth Form Single Crown
Drought Tolerance Medium
Shade Tolerance Tolerant
Height When Mature 70
Vegetative Spread None
Flower Color Green
Flower Conspicuousness No
Fruit/Seed Abundance High
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Spring Summer
Seed Spread Rate Moderate
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Bare Root, Container, Seed
Moisture Requirements Medium
Cold Stratification Required Yes
Minimum Temperature -43
Soil Depth for Roots 40
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Resprout Ability Yes
Responds to Coppicing Yes
Growth Requirements
pH Range 5–8 pH
Precipitation Range 9–9 inches/yr
Planting Density 300–800 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Coarse, Fine, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 40
Minimum Frost-Free Days 120 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance Low
CaCO3 Tolerance High
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability Medium
Fire Resistant No

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA