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European ash (Not recommended)

Summer foliage of European ash.

Due to susceptibility to emerald ash borer (EAB), European ash is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually requires removal and/or replacement.  European ash is a large shade tree found throughout Europe which is hardy to the Midwest. Currently, ash trees cannot be sold in Illinois. Check with your state for quarantine restrictions.

Botanical name:

Fraxinus excelsior

All Common Names:

European ash, common ash

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Size Range:

  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

Mature Height:

60-80 feet

Mature Width:

60-90 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Alkaline soil

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Intolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Moderately Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Tolerant

Ornamental Interest:

  • Fall color,
  • Persistent fruit/seeds

Season of Interest:

  • Early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

Transplants Well:

  • Yes


  • Insect pollinators,
  • Migrant birds

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Full sun and moist, well-drained soils.

Disease, pests, and problems
Susceptibility to the emerald ash borer makes this tree unsuitable for the landscape.

This species is also very susceptible to attack from the native ash borer.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Europe and Asia.

Bark color and texture 

The bark is light gray and relatively smooth on young trees, becoming tightly ridged and furrowed on older trees.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Compound leaves are in pairs (opposite), with 7 to 11 leaflets on each leaf.
Leaves are dark green in summer, changing to yellow green or a mild yellow in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Not ornamentally important.  Male and female flowers may be on same tree or on different trees.
Flowers appear in spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruits are winged seeds borne in clusters.



Location of Fraxinus excelsior (European ash (Not recommended)) at the Arboretum