White Ash Tree Facts
The white ash tree is a deciduous member of the ash family. You may find it in hardwood forests throughout America, from the border with Canada through to Florida and as far to the west as Texas.
About the White Ash Tree
The white ash tree can reach up to 100 feet in height, although it is most common for them to reach about 80 feet. They have a width, or "spread," of 40 to 60 feet.
The white ash tree is known for its hardiness and adaptability: As well as in hardwood forests, you can find it at the bottom of mountains and on low hills or parkland. It can also survive along wetlands. However, trees in dense woodlands may struggle as they grow older because the white ash tree is not fond of shady areas.
The tree tolerates a full range of soil types. It is also thought to be relatively drought tolerant, although severe periods of drought do affect it. (The tree prefers a moist soil.)
The white ash tree grows in a pyramid shape, with a gray-brown trunk that can be around two feet in diameter on the tallest trees.
Ash leaves are compound, being formed of between five and nine leaflets, which are the shape of elongated ovals. Leaf tops are dark green with a white-yellow underneath, which is usually hairy. These leaves turn red and yellow in the autumn.
Flower appearances differs between the sexes. Male flowers grow in small, dense bunches that contain at least two stamens but completely lack petals. Female flowers are much longer, multi-flowered groups which share a single pistil between them. Female flowers appear once every 2 to 3 years.
The fruit or seed of the white ash tree is a flat, brownish seed contained in a "wing" or samara, which enables the seed to travel further from the parent plant. Brown seeds need to be left to germinate for 1 or 2 years, in a staggered system which ensures that not too many ash trees grow in one year. Fruit grow in clusters before dropping to the ground and dispersing. Quail, turkey and songbirds may also eat the fruit.
You can distinguish the white ash tree from many of the other ash types by the leaf scar which remains on twigs after growth. The scar on the white ash is broad and has been described as a grin.
The white ash tree has many uses, due to its strength and flexibility. The wood has been used to make prosthetic limbs, baseball bats and cheap furniture. It may also be used as a laminate, or for snowshoes and tennis rackets. Some also prefer the ash tree to any other kind for use on stoves and barbecues because it can be burned as both green and dry lumber.