White ash (Not recommended)

The bark of white ash is narrowly ridged and furrowed.

Due to susceptibility to emerald ash borer (EAB), white ash is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually requires removal and/or replacement. White ash, a native woodland tree found throughout the Midwest, had been used extensively as a shade and street tree. Currently, ash trees cannot be sold in Illinois. Check with your state for quarantine restrictions. 

This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.  

Botanical name:

Fraxinus americana

All Common Names:

white ash, American ash

Family (English):

Olive

Family (Botanic):

Oleaceae

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree

Foliage:

  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Chicago area,
  • Illinois,
  • North America

Size Range:

  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

Mature Height:

50-80 feet

Mature Width:

50-80 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 3,
  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Acid Soils:

  • Intolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Tolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Intolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Tolerant

Planting Considerations:

  • Weak wood and branch structure

Ornamental Interest:

  • Fall color,
  • Persistent fruit/seeds

Season of Interest:

  • Mid fall,
  • Late fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

  • Yes

Wildlife:

  • Game birds,
  • Insect pollinators,
  • Mammals,
  • Migrant birds,
  • Sapsuckers,
  • Songbirds

More Information:

Disease, pests, and problems

Susceptibility to the emerald ash borer makes this tree unsuitable for the landscape.

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 5

Bark color and texture 

The bark is light gray and loosely ridged and furrowed.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Compound leaves are in pairs (opposite), with 5 to 9 leaflets on each leaf.
Leaves are dark green in summer, changing to purplish in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Male and female flowers on separate trees (dioecious).  Not ornamentally important.
Flowers appear in spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruit are winged seeds borne in clusters.

Location of Fraxinus americana (White ash (Not recommended)) at the Arboretum