White ash trees (Fraxinus americana) are native to the eastern United States and Canada, ranging naturally from Nova Scotia to Minnesota, Texas, and Florida. They are big, beautiful, branching shade trees that turn glorious shades of red to deep purple in the fall. Keep reading to learn white ash tree facts and how to grow a white ash tree.
White Ash Tree Facts
Growing a white ash tree is a long process. If they don’t succumb to disease, the trees can live to be 200 years old. They grow at a moderate rate of about 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm.) per year. At maturity, they tend to reach between 50 and 80 feet (15 to 24 m.) in height and 40 to 50 feet (12 to 15 m.) in width.
They also tend to have one leader trunk, with evenly spaced branches growing in a dense, pyramidal fashion. Because of their branching tendencies, they make very good shade trees. The compound leaves grow in 8- to 15-inch (20 to 38 cm.) long clusters of smaller leaflets. In the fall, these leaves turn stunning shades of red to purple.
In the spring, the trees produce purple flowers that give way to 1- to 2-inch (2.5 o 5 cm.) long samaras, or single seeds, surrounded by papery wings.
White Ash Tree Care
Growing a white ash tree from seed is possible, though more success is had when they’re transplanted as seedlings. Seedlings grow best in full sun but will tolerate some shade.
White ash prefers moist, rich, deep soil and will grow well in a wide range of pH levels.
Unfortunately, white ash is susceptible to a serious problem called ash yellows, or ash dieback. It tends to occur between 39 and 45 degrees of latitude. Another serious problem of this tree is the emerald ash borer.