Height: 50 to 70 feet
Lifespan: Up to 150 years; occasionally longer
Fall Foliage: Moderately attractive yellow
Range: Most of the eastern United States, west as far as Texas, Montana and the adjacent portions of Canada
Typical Habitat: A lowland species, but adaptable and widely planted as a street tree, so you may find it anywhere
The Green Ash: Fast-Growing, Hardy & Adaptable
The green ash is an important component of many forest ecosystems (particularly near rivers and other damp sites). But it is also a very popular tree with homeowners and landscapers, given its rapid growth rate and tolerance for a variety of growing conditions. It can not only thrive in a variety of different soil compositions, but it will also survive in areas with compacted soil.
However, the green ash does present a few issues for humans. For starters, its root systems can become quite invasive, lifting sidewalks and damaging underground water pipes. It also releases an abundance of seeds, which benefit local wildlife (primarily birds), but cause litter problems for people.
Green Ash Identification: Tips & Tricks
The tree’s feather compound leaves distinguish it from the majority of other U.S. species, and their opposite arrangement distinguish this species from hickories and locusts (the lack of an enlarged terminal leaflet help distinguish it from the ash-leaf maple (Acer negundo)).
Distinguishing the green ash from the white ash (Fraxinus americana) – the other common ash species that it most closely resembles – relies on looking at the bases of the leaflets. In the white ash, a very distinct petiole is present, while the petioles of green ashes are often flattened or winged, and they appear more like an extension of the leaf.
The Green Ash: Additional Information
Need to learn more about the green ash? Check out these great resources:
- Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: A basic guide to the species, which provides all of the basic information most nature lovers would want to know, as well as pest and disease info.
- North Dakota State University: A semi-technical guide to the green ash tree (in PDF form), that provides basic info, as well as cultural information and notes on common cultivars.
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: A relatively comprehensive resource that provides lots of information and helpful photographs.