Fraxinus americana d.w. (White Ash) is a large deciduous tree native to eastern and central North America. It belongs to the Oleaceae family and is esteemed for its majestic stature, attractive foliage, and versatile wood.
Physical Characteristics: White Ash is a tall tree that can reach heights of 18-30 meters (60-100 feet) or more. It typically has a straight trunk with grayish-brown bark that becomes deeply furrowed as the tree matures. The crown is usually broad and rounded, with ascending branches. The branches and twigs are opposite, meaning they grow directly across from each other.
Leaves: The leaves of White Ash are compound and composed of 7-9 elongated leaflets. The leaflets are lance-shaped, pointed at the tip, and have serrated or finely toothed edges. The leaves have a glossy dark green color on the upper surface and a paler green color on the underside. In autumn, they often turn vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and purple before dropping.
Flowers and Fruits: White Ash trees are dioecious, meaning they have separate male and female flowers on different trees. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, with a greenish color, and they appear in clusters in early spring before the leaves emerge. Female trees produce winged seeds known as samaras, which are flat and elongated. The samaras are often referred to as "ash keys" and are dispersed by the wind.
Wood and Commercial Uses: White Ash wood is highly valued for its strength, flexibility, and attractive grain. It is commonly used in various industries, including furniture making, flooring, cabinetry, tool handles, sports equipment (such as baseball bats and hockey sticks), and veneers. The wood is pale to light brown in color and has good workability.
Cultivation: White Ash trees are adaptable and can thrive in a variety of soil types. They prefer well-drained soils but can tolerate occasional flooding. They are typically planted in parks, large landscapes, and along streets for their aesthetic value and shade.