White Ash (Americana)

The White Ash (Americana) 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 mid spring, with fruit and seed production starting in the summer and continuing until fall. Leaves are not retained year to year. The White Ash (Americana) has a moderate life span relative to most other plant species and a moderate growth rate. At maturity, the typical White Ash (Americana) will reach up to 90 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of 40 feet.

The White Ash (Americana) 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 -34°F. has low tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

White ash is a good tree for open areas such as parks and campuses; it also is used as a lawn, shade, and street tree, even though its potential large size can make it incongruous with a small area. It is an erect, graceful tree, often with bronze-purple fall foliage. It is easy to transplant and numerous cultivars have been developed, including seedless (male) forms. Other selections are based on yellow to orange and purple fall colors, persistence of leaves in the fall, height, crown shape (broadly to narrowly oval) and density, growth vigor, and cold hardiness. White ash also has been used in re-vegetating disturbed sites.

The wood of white ash is valued for its strength, hardness, heavy weight, and elasticity (shock resistance). Native Americans appreciated its usefulness for tools and implements, and it is used extensively today for tool handles. Its use in wooden baseball bats is famous. The wood is also used in furniture, doors, veneer, antique vehicle parts, railroad cars and ties, canoe paddles, snowshoes, boats, posts, ties, and fuel. White ash is the most valuable timber tree of the various ashes.

White ash was used by native Americans for a variety of medicinal purposes: a decoction of the leaves as a laxative and general tonic for women after childbirth; the seeds as an aphrodisiac, a diuretic, an appetite stimulant, a styptic, an emetic, and as a cure for fevers; and a bark tea for an itching scalp, lice, snakebite, and other sores. Juice from the leaves has been applied to mosquito bites for relief of swelling and itching.

White-tailed deer and cattle browse white ash and beaver, porcupine, and rabbits may eat the bark of young trees. The seeds are eaten by wood duck, northern bobwhite, turkey, grouse, finches, grosbeaks, cardinals, fox squirrel, mice, and many other birds and small mammals. The tendency of white ash to form trunk cavities makes it valuable for cavity nesters such as redheaded, red-bellied, and pileated woodpeckers. Once primary nest excavators have opened up the bole, it is an excellent habitat for secondary nesters such as wood ducks, owls, nuthatches, and gray squirrels.

General Characteristics

General: Olive family (Oleaceae). Native trees growing to 20-30 m tall, maintaining a central leader (strong apical dominance) in youth with an even

Required Growing Conditions

White ash grows over most of eastern North America, absent only from the outer Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains. It occurs from Nova Scotia west to eastern Minnesota and south to Texas and northern Florida, northward barely into southern Quebec and Ontario. It is cultivated in Hawaii. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

Cultivation and Care

Adaptation: White ash grows best on deep, well-drained, moist soils with other hardwoods at elevations of about 0-1050 meters. It rarely forms pure stands. It occurs on middle slopes in the Northeast, on slightly elevated ridges in the floodplains of major streams in the coastal plain, and on slopes along major streams in the central states. Primary associates are eastern white pine, northern red oak, white oak, sugar maple, red maple, yellow birch, American beech, black cherry, eastern hemlock, and yellow poplar.

White ash is primarily characteristic of early and intermediate stages of succession. The seedlings are shade tolerant but can also establish in full sun. Mature individuals are shade intolerant – after persisting for a few years in moderately dense shade, trees developing inside closed stands reach the overstory by responding quickly to openings in the canopy.

General: White ash begins producing seed at a minimum age of 20 years. A good seed crop is produced at intervals of 2-3 years, although the males flower heavily each year. To best overcome dormancy, stratify under moist conditions for 30 days at 14/30( C (night/day) then for 60 days at 5( C. A forest floor seed bank may retain viable white ash seeds for 3-4 years. Germination can occur on mineral soil, humus, or leaf litter, and seedlings develop best in partial sun. Mature trees may reach 200 years of age. White ash resprouts from the root crown after logging or fire. Sprouting ability decreases with age.

General Upkeep and Control

White ash prefers moist deep soils for best growth but is adaptable to a wide range of soil pH. Full sun is best. Young plants are easily transplanted and established. White ash has been successfully used in the reclamation of strip mines in Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. Seedlings provide a better start than direct seeding, and planting should be in mixtures with other hardwoods. White ash is more ornamental than green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) but is less adaptable, grows at a slower rate, and is more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Bud grafting generally propagates white ash FRCA5.PG (Kamchatka fritillary

Plant Basics
Growth Rate Moderate
General Type Tree
Growth Period Spring, Summer
Growth Duration Perennial
Lifespan Moderate
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.
Commercial Availability Routinely Available
Physical Characteristics
Bloom Period Mid Spring
Displays Fall Colors Yes
Shape/Growth Form Single Stem
Drought Tolerance Low
Shade Tolerance Intolerant
Height When Mature 90
Vegetative Spread None
Flower Color Yellow
Flower Conspicuousness No
Fruit/Seed Abundance High
Fruit/Seed Seasonality Summer Fall
Seed Spread Rate Moderate
Gardening Characteristics
Propagations (Ways to Grow) Bare Root, Container, Seed
Moisture Requirements High
Cold Stratification Required Yes
Minimum Temperature -34
Soil Depth for Roots 40
Toxic to Nearby Plants No
Toxic to Livestock No
After-Harvest Resprout Ability Yes
Responds to Coppicing No
Growth Requirements
pH Range 5–7.5 pH
Precipitation Range 30–30 inches/yr
Planting Density 300–800 indiv./acre
Soil Textures Coarse, Fine, Medium
Soil Depth for Roots 40
Minimum Frost-Free Days 90 day(s)
Salinity Tolerance None
CaCO3 Tolerance Medium
Sustainability & Use
Leaf Retention No
Palatability Medium
Fire Resistant No
Causes Livestock Bloating None

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