Green ash is a large deciduous tree, native to most of North America. Its large and impressive canopy is often used in residential settings. The tree is very adaptable and can also be grown in city environments where compacted soil, air pollution and drought conditions are common. This has led to some cities actually being over-planted with green ash.
The leaves of green ash are shiny, lance-shaped, medium green in color and usually turn yellow in fall. The stems of the leaves have a velvety texture. The tree's flowers are small, green, inconspicuous and appear in spring. The flowers produce significant numbers of seeds, which are used as a food source by many types of birds. The wood is tough and resilient.
The plant grows well from hardiness zone 9 in the United States through southern Canada. Green ash is a fast-growing and hardy tree and can add more than two feet of growth annually. When young, trees in zones 8 or 9 may grow 6 to 10 feet in a season, in optimal conditions. The roots of the plant tend to be close to the surface of the soil and can heave sidewalks, drives and foundations, if planted too closely and can also interfere with lawn maintenance.
The tree is moderately large, can grow to 60 feet in height and can spread to 45 in width. Green ash usually grows from one central trunk and has upright limbs that form a roughly rounded to oval shape. The crown of the plant is dense and irregular. The branches tend to droop toward the ground, then bend upward at their ends.
Green ash trees are easily transplanted from nursery stock and establish quickly. The tree thrives in full sun. It can adapt to a wide range of soils, but has only a little drought tolerance. It prefers wetter soils and can handle extended periods of flooding, if the soil is well-draining. When young, green ash requires good pruning to develop a strong structure to the tree.
Green ash makes a very good shade tree and is popular in landscape settings. It is well-adapted to urban environments and is frequently used in parks. The tree is also prized for its wood, which is tough and elastic, with a very straight grain, similar to that of its relative, the white ash. As white ash is becoming increasingly scarce, green ash is now often used as a replacement.
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