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Overview

Brief Summary

Oleaceae -- Olive family

    Richard C. Schlesinger

    White ash (Fraxinus americana), also called Biltmore ash  or Biltmore white ash, is the most common and useful native ash  but is never a dominant species in the forest. It grows best on  rich, moist, well-drained soils to medium size. Because white ash  wood is tough, strong, and highly resistant to shock, it is  particularly sought for handles, oars, and baseball bats. The  winged seeds provide food for many kinds of birds.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Richard C. Schlesinger

Source: Silvics of North America

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Comprehensive Description

Description

This tree is 50-100' tall at maturity, forming a long stout trunk and a variable crown
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

General: Olive family (Oleaceae). Native trees growing to 20-30 m tall, maintaining a central leader (strong apical dominance) in youth with an even distribution of branches, developing a dense, conical or rounded crown at maturity. The trunk is long, straight, and free of branches for most of its length (except when open grown). The bark is thick, dark gray, with a uniform, diamond-shaped ridge and furrow pattern. Leaves are deciduous, opposite, pinnately compound, 20-38 cm long, leaflets usually 7(5-9), short-stalked, ovate to ovate-lanceolate or elliptic, acuminate, 6-13 cm long and 3-6 cm wide, sometimes with a few teeth near the tip, dark green and smooth above, whitish below. Flowers are numerous, very small, green to purplish, in small branched clusters near the branch tips, usually either male (staminate) or female (pistillate), a single tree usually bearing only one sex (the species dioecious). Fruits are samaras 2.5-5 cm long, hanging in clusters, with a narrow wing extending about 1/3-1/4 of the way down the cylindrical body. The common name is in reference to the white color of the wood.

This species flowers in April-May, the male first, before appearance of the leaves; fruiting August-October, the seeds dispersed September-November. The pollen is already airborne during the 7-10 days when the female flowers are receptive.

Variation within the species: A number of variants have been described within the species, including F. americana var. biltmoreana (Beadle) J. Wright ex Fern. (= F. biltmoreana Beadle) and F. americana var. microcarpa A. Gray, but the distinctions between these have not been generally confirmed and formal variants are not currently recognized. Diploids (2n=46), tetraploids (2n=92), and hexaploids (2n=138) occur within the species, but it is difficult to associate differences in ploidy level with other patterns of variation.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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Occurrence in North America

     AL  CT  DE  FL  GA  HI  IL  IN  IA  KS
     KY  LA  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN  MS  MO  NE
     NH  NJ  NC  OH  OK  PA  RI  SC  TN  TX
     VT  VA  WV  WI  NB  NS  ON  PQ

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White ash inhabits eastern North America.  It occurs from Nova Scotia
west to eastern Minnesota and south to Texas and northern Florida [23].
It is cultivated in Hawaii [34].
  • 23.  Millers, Imants; Shriner, David S.; Rizzo, David. 1989. History of        hardwood decline in the eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-126.        Bromall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 75 p.  [10925]
  • 34.  St. John, Harold. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the        Hawaiian islands. Hong Kong: Cathay Press Limited. 519 p.  [25354]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

   14  Great Plains

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White ash grows naturally from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, to  northern Florida in the east, and to eastern Minnesota south to  eastern Texas at the western edge of its range (7).

   
  -The native range of white ash.


  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Richard C. Schlesinger

Source: Silvics of North America

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White ash grows over most of eastern North America, absent only from the outer Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains. It occurs from Nova Scotia west to eastern Minnesota and south to Texas and northern Florida, northward barely into southern Quebec and Ontario. It is cultivated in Hawaii. For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the terms: dioecious, tree

White ash is a native, deciduous, long-lived tree [30].  Leaves are
compound, 8 to 15 inches (20-38 cm) in length, and usually have seven
oval, entire leaflets [17].  White ash is dioecious.  The male flowers
bloom first, before the leaf buds break.  The pollen is already airborne
during the 7 to 10 days when the female flowers are receptive [10,32].
The flowers are borne in panicles near branch tips.  White ash will
start to flower when it is 3 to 4 inches (8-10 cm) in d.b.h., but
abundant flowering does not occur until the tree is 8 to 10 inches
(20-25 cm) [10].

White ash obtains heights of 60 to 70 feet (18-21 m).  The bole is long,
straight and free of branches for most of its length, and the crown is
narrow and pyramidal when grown in a mixed stand.  Open-grown specimens
have a short bole with a rounded crown [17].
  • 17.  Hosie, R. C. 1969. Native trees of Canada. 7th ed. Ottawa, ON: Canadian        Forestry Service, Department of Fisheries and Forestry. 380 p.  [3375]
  • 10.  Farmer, Robert E., Jr.; Pitcher, John A. 1981. Pollen handling for        southern hardwoods. In: Agric. Handb. 587. Washington, DC: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 77-83.  [12654]
  • 30.  Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest.        Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p.  [7707]
  • 32.  Wright, Jonathan W. 1953. Notes on flowering and fruiting of        northeastern trees. Station Paper No. 60. Upper Darby, PA: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest        Experiment Station. 38 p.  [5009]

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Type Information

Type fragment for Fraxinus americana var. microcarpa A. Gray
Catalog Number: US 61276
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. H. Curtiss
Year Collected: 1875
Locality: Alabama, United States, North America
  • Type fragment: Gray, A. 1878. Syn. Fl. N. Amer. 2: 75.
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© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat: Cover Types

More info on this topic.

This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

More info for the term: swamp

   19  Gray birch - red maple
   20  White pine - northern red oak - red maple
   21  Eastern white pine
   22  White pine - hemlock
   23  Eastern hemlock
   24  Hemlock - yellow birch
   25  Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch
   26  Sugar maple - basswood
   27  Sugar maple
   28  Black cherry - maple
   33  Red spruce - balsam fir
   39  Black ash - American elm - red maple
   42  Bur oak
   52  White oak - black oak - northern red oak
   53  White oak
   55  Northern red oak
   57  Yellow poplar
   58  Yellow poplar - eastern hemlock
   59  Yellow poplar - white oak - northern red oak
   60  Beech - sugar maple
   63  Cottonwood
   64  Sassafras - persimmon
   80  Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine
   82  Loblolly pine - hardwood
   87  Sweet gum - yellow poplar
   91  Swamp chestnut oak - cherrybark oak

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

   K081  Oak savanna
   K082  Mosaic of K074 and K100
   K084  Cross Timbers
   K089  Black Belt
   K090  Live oak - sea oats
   K091  Cypress savanna
   K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest
   K095  Great Lakes pine forest
   K097  Southeastern spruce - fir forest
   K098  Northern floodplain forest
   K099  Maple - basswood forest
   K100  Oak - hickory forest
   K101  Elm - ash forest
   K102  Beech - maple forest
   K103  Mixed mesophytic forest
   K104  Appalachian oak forest
   K106  Northern hardwoods
   K107  Northern hardwoods - fir forest
   K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest
   K110  Northeastern oak - pine forest
   K111  Oak - hickory - pine forest
   K112  Southern mixed forest

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Habitat characteristics

White ash grows best on deep, well-drained, moist soils with other
hardwoods [17].  In the Northeast white ash occurs on middle mesophytic
slopes, and it is reduced or lacking on dry, cold ridges and
mountaintops.  White ash occurs on slightly elevated ridges in the
floodplains of major streams in the Coastal Plain and on slopes along
major streams in the Central States [27].

Soil:  White ash has a strong affinity for soils high in nitrogen and
calcium [27].

Climate:  Climate varies widely within white ash's range.  The
frost-free period ranges from 90 to 270 days.  Annual precipitation
ranges from 30 to 60 inches (76-152 cm) per year.  Snow depths vary from
0 to more than 100 inches (254 cm) [27].

Elevation:  White ash grows from near sea level on the Coastal Plain to
3,450 feet (1,050 m) in the Cumberland Mountains [27].

Associates:  White ash's primary associates are eastern white pine
(Pinus strobus), northern red oak (Quercus rubra), white oak (Q. alba),
sugar maple (Acer saccharum), red maple (A. rubrum), yellow birch
(Betula alleghaniensis), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), black
cherry (Prunus serotina), eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), and yellow
poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) [27].

Understory associates are downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea),
pawpaw (Asimina triloba), American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana),
flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), and eastern hophornbeam (Ostrya
virginiana) [27].
  • 17.  Hosie, R. C. 1969. Native trees of Canada. 7th ed. Ottawa, ON: Canadian        Forestry Service, Department of Fisheries and Forestry. 380 p.  [3375]
  • 27.  Schlesinger, Richard C. 1990. Fraxinus americana L.  white ash. In:        Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics        of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 333-338.  [13965]

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

   FRES10  White - red - jack pine
   FRES11  Spruce - fir
   FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine
   FRES14  Oak - pine
   FRES15  Oak - hickory
   FRES16  Oak - gum - cypress
   FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood
   FRES18  Maple - beech - birch
   FRES19  Aspen - birch

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Key Plant Community Associations

Coffman and others [6] list white ash as a dominant and an indicator in
the habitat type classification of upper Michigan and northwestern
Wisconsin.
  • 6.  Coffman, Michael S.; Alyanak, Edward; Resovsky, Richard. 1980. Field        guide habitat classification system: For Upper Peninsula of Michigan and        northeast Wisconsin. [Place of publication unknown]

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Soils and Topography

White ash has demanding soil fertility and soil moisture  requirements. These requirements may be provided by soils derived  from a variety of parent materials-limestone, basalt, shale,  alluvium, and fine glacial till. A large number of soil types may  support white ash, many of which are included in the Hapludalfs  and Fragiudalfs of the order Alfisols, Haplorthods and  Fragiorthods of the order Spodosols, and Dystrochrepts and  Fragiochrepts of the order Inceptisols (11).

    White ash grows most commonly on fertile soils with a high  nitrogen content and a moderate to high calcium content. Nutrient  culture results show that an absence of nitrogen reduces seedling  dry weight by 38 percent compared to seedlings grown in complete  nutrient solution, and that calcium is the second most important  macroelement, followed by sulfur (3). Its pH tolerance varies  from 5.0 to 7.5.

    Soil moisture is an important factor affecting local distribution.  Best growth occurs on moderately well drained soils, including  areas underlain by compacted glacial till; light textured, well  drained, glacial drift; and sandy to clay loam soils in which  roots can penetrate to a depth of 40 cm (16 in) or more. Although  rarely found in swamps, white ash is intermediately tolerant of  temporary flooding.

    White ash is found in various topographic situations. It grows  from near sea level in the southeastern Coastal Plain to about  1050 m (3,450 ft) in the Cumberland Mountains and up to 600 m  (1,970 ft) in New York's Adirondack Mountains. In the hilly and  mountainous areas of the Northeast, it grows on the mesophytic  lower and middle slopes, usually stopping short of both the dry,  oak-pine ridgetops and the cold, spruce-fir mountain tops. In the  Coastal Plain, white ash usually is limited to the slightly  elevated ridges in the floodplains of major streams. In the  Central States it is most common on slopes along major streams,  less common in upland situations, and rarely found in the flat  bottoms of major streams or in depressions (16).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Richard C. Schlesinger

Source: Silvics of North America

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Climate

The climate varies greatly within the natural range of this  species. The length of the frost-free period is from 90 to 270  days. Mean January temperatures range from -14° C (7°  F) to 12° C (54° F) and the mean annual minimum  temperatures range from -34° C (-30° F) to -5° C  (23° F). Mean July temperatures range from 18° C (64°  F) to 27° C (81° F). The average annual precipitation  is between 760 and 1520 mm (30 and 60 in), and the snowfall is  from 0 to 250 cm (100 in).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

Richard C. Schlesinger

Source: Silvics of North America

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Dispersal

Establishment

Adaptation: White ash grows best on deep, well-drained, moist soils with other hardwoods at elevations of about 0-1050 meters. It rarely forms pure stands. It occurs on middle slopes in the Northeast, on slightly elevated ridges in the floodplains of major streams in the coastal plain, and on slopes along major streams in the central states. Primary associates are eastern white pine, northern red oak, white oak, sugar maple, red maple, yellow birch, American beech, black cherry, eastern hemlock, and yellow poplar.

White ash is primarily characteristic of early and intermediate stages of succession. The seedlings are shade tolerant but can also establish in full sun. Mature individuals are shade intolerant – after persisting for a few years in moderately dense shade, trees developing inside closed stands reach the overstory by responding quickly to openings in the canopy.

General: White ash begins producing seed at a minimum age of 20 years. A good seed crop is produced at intervals of 2-3 years, although the males flower heavily each year. To best overcome dormancy, stratify under moist conditions for 30 days at 14/30 C (night/day) then for 60 days at 5 C. A forest floor seed bank may retain viable white ash seeds for 3-4 years. Germination can occur on mineral soil, humus, or leaf litter, and seedlings develop best in partial sun. Mature trees may reach 200 years of age.

White ash resprouts from the root crown after logging or fire. Sprouting ability decreases with age.

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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Associations

Associated Forest Cover

White ash is a major component in the forest cover type White  Pine-Northern Red Oak-Red Maple (Society of American Foresters  Type 20) and is a common associate in 25 other forest cover types  (4):

    19 Gray Birch-Red Maple
  21 Eastern White Pine
  22 White Pine-Hemlock
  23 Eastern Hemlock
  24 Hemlock-Yellow Birch
  25 Sugar Maple-Beech-Yellow Birch
  26 Sugar Maple-Basswood
  27 Sugar Maple
  28 Black Cherry-Maple
  33 Red Spruce-Balsam Fir
  39 Black Ash-American Elm-Red Maple
  42 Bur Oak
  52 White Oak-Black Oak-Northern Red Oak
  53 White Oak
  55 Northern Red Oak
  57 Yellow-Poplar
  58 Yellow-Poplar-Eastern Hemlock
  59 Yellow-Poplar-White Oak-Northern Red Oak
  60 Beech-Sugar Maple
  63 Cottonwood
  64 Sassafras-Persimmon
  80 Loblolly Pine--Shortleaf Pine
  82 Loblolly Pine-Hardwood
  87 Sweetgum-Yellow-Poplar
  91 Swamp Chestnut Oak-Cherrybark Oak

    Some of the primary associates of white ash include eastern white  pine (Pinus strobus), northern red oak (Quercus  rubra), white oak (Q. alba), sugar maple (Acer  saccharum), red maple (A. rubrum), yellow birch (Betula  alleghaniensis), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), black  cherry (Prunus serotina), American basswood (Tilia  americana), eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), American  elm (Ulmus americana), and yellow-poplar (Liriodendron  tulipifera). Understory shrubs and small trees frequently  found growing with ash are downy serviceberry (Amelanchier  arborea), pawpaw (Asimina triloba), American hornbeam  (Carpinus caroliniana), flowering dogwood (Cornus  florida), witch-hazel (Hamamelis uirginiana), eastern  hophornbeam (Ostrya uirginiana), and mapleleaf viburnum  (Viburnum acerifolium).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Richard C. Schlesinger

Source: Silvics of North America

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Diseases and Parasites

Damaging Agents

Ash decline (also called ash dieback) is  the most serious problem affecting white ash. Especially  prevalent in the northeastern part of the tree's range, this  disease complex occurs from the Great Plains to the Atlantic  coast between 39 and 45 degrees north latitude (10). The disease,  ash yellows, caused by mycoplasma-like organisms (MLO), has been  found associated with most of the dying trees where ash decline  is conspicuous (9). However, since not all dying trees are  infected with MLO, ash decline is thought to result from multiple  causes. Drought-weakened trees may be invaded by cankercausing,  branch-girdling fungi such as Fusicoccum spp. and Cytophorna  pruinosa. Additional stresses that may be involved in the  etiology of ash decline are air pollution, leaf-spotting fungi,  and viruses. Control recommendations are based primarily on  maintaining good tree vigor (6).

    Air pollution damages white ash. It is rated as sensitive to ozone  and is severely injured by stack gases from soft coal consumption  and from industrial processes, both of which emit sulfur dioxide.

    Two leaf spot fungi, Mycosphaerella effigurata and Mfraxinicola, are common in nurseries and in the forest  and cause premature defoliation of white ash. Anthracnose (Gloeosporium  aridum) also causes premature defoliation and is most serious  following exceptionally wet springs. An ash strain of tobacco  ringspot virus causes chlorotic areas on the leaves and has been  associated with ash dieback.

    A rust (Puccinia peridermiospora) distorts petioles and  small twigs. Cankers caused by Nectria galligena may cause  branches to break but are rarely found on main stems. Heartwood  rots may be caused by Perenniporia fraxinophilus, Phellinus  igniarius, Pleurotus ostreatus, Tyromyces spraguei,  and Laetiporus sulphureus. These organisms usually enter  through wounds or broken branches, mainly on older trees.

    Of 26 species of nematodes reported from the roots or root zones  of white ash, only one, Meloidogyne ovalis, has been  associated with root injury. However, nematodes can be vectors  for the ringspot virus (5).

    Of the insect pests, the oystershell scale (Lepidosaphes ulmi)  is the most serious. Severe infestations cause yellowing of the  leaves, and if prolonged, may kill some trees. The cottony maple  scale (Pulvinaria innumerabilis) also attacks white ash.

    The brownheaded ash sawfly (Tomostethus multicinctus) and  the blackheaded ash sawfly (Tethida cordigera) are defoliators  that are of concern mainly on ornamental trees. The forest tent  caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria) and the green fruitworm  (Lithophane antennata) feed on forest trees and  occasionally cause complete defoliation within small geographic  areas. The larvae of sphingid moths-Sphinx chersis (the  great ash sphinx), S. kalmiae, and Ceratornia  undulosa-feed on the leaves of white ash, as does the  notched-wing geometer (Ennomos magnaria). The larvae of  two leaf roller moths, Sparganothis dilutocostana and  S. folgidipenna, also feed on ash.

    The ash bark beetle (Leperisinus aculeatus) may cause  slight injury when the adults bore into the bark to hibernate.  The ash borer (Podosesia syringae) may seriously damage  young shade and shelterbelt trees. The ash and privet borer (Tylonotus  bimaculatus) attacks and kills branches, especially on older  trees. Both the red-headed ash borer (Neoclytus acurninatus)  andthe banded ash borer (N. caprea) colonize cut  logs and dead or dying trees (1).

    White ash seedlings are easily damaged or destroyed by deer and  cattle browsing. Rabbits, beaver, and porcupine occasionally use  the bark of young trees for food.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

Richard C. Schlesinger

Source: Silvics of North America

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General Ecology

Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

The Research Project Summaries Effects of surface fires in a mixed red and

eastern white pine stand in Michigan
and Early postfire effects of a prescribed

fire in the southern Appalachians of North Carolina
provides information on

prescribed fire and postfire response of plant community species, including white ash,

that was not available when this species review was originally written.

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Plant Response to Fire

McGee [21] found that after fires of varying intensity in a stand of
5-year-old saplings the number of white ash stems per acre increased as
follows:

                    Area 1         Area 2         Area 3         Area 4      
                    Burn           Burn           No Burn        Burn
                    Moderate       Light          Control        Severe

Saplings            424            215            123            109
Postfire increase   +91            +66            +13            +42
  • 21.  McGee, Charles E. 1980. The effect of fire on species dominance in young        upland hardwood stands. In: Proceedings, mid-south upland hardwood        symposium for the practicing forester and land manager; [Date of        conference unknown]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Fire

Fire wounds can increase a tree's susceptibility to insects and decay by
weakening the plant and providing entry points.  Compared with other
hardwoods, white ash is moderately susceptible to fire-damage-induced
decay [33].
  • 33.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Region. 1989.        Final environmental impact statement. Vegetation management in the        Coastal Plain/Piedmont. Vol. 1. Management Bulletin R8-MB-23. Atlanta,        GA. 351 p.  [10220]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the terms: root crown, secondary colonizer

   survivor species; on-site surviving root crown or caudex
   secondary colonizer; off-site seed carried to site after year 2

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Fire Ecology

More info for the term: root crown

White ash resprouts from the root crown after fire [21].
  • 21.  McGee, Charles E. 1980. The effect of fire on species dominance in young        upland hardwood stands. In: Proceedings, mid-south upland hardwood        symposium for the practicing forester and land manager; [Date of        conference unknown]

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Successional Status

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More info for the term: succession

White ash is a pioneer species.  It is characteristic of early and
intermediate stages of succession.  Although mature white ash is
classified as shade intolerant, the seedlings are shade tolerant.  A
seedling can survive at less than 3 percent of full sunlight for a few
years.  This attribute allows the species to regenerate in gaps [27].
  • 27.  Schlesinger, Richard C. 1990. Fraxinus americana L.  white ash. In:        Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics        of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 333-338.  [13965]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: litter, root crown

Sexual:  White ash samaras remain viable on the forest floor for 3 to 4
years [5].  The samaras require cold stratification; in the laboratory
stratification at 41 to 14 degrees F (5 to -10 degrees C) for 2 to 3
months resulted in a mean germination of 54 percent.  Germination is
epigeal and can occur on mineral soil, humus, or leaf litter, but the
substrate must be moist [27].

Vegetative:  White ash resprouts from the root crown after logging or
fire.  Sprouting ability decreases with age [27].

Silviculture:  Young stands (5 to 10 years) respond to the addition of
nitrogen and thinning by increasing the number of stems per acre and
increasing in height growth by 1 to 2 feet (0.3-0.6 m) [15], whereas
older stands (35 to 85 years) do not exhibit increased growth from
fertilization or release [8].

White ash responds well to shelterwood cutting.  Advanced regeneration
grows best with 60 percent of the overstory removed [14].
  • 5.  Clark, F. Bryan. 1962. White ash, hackberry, and yellow-poplar seed        remain viable when stored in the forest litter. Indiana Academy of        Science Proceedings. 1962: 112-114.  [237]
  • 8.  Ellis, Robert C. 1979. Response of crop trees of sugar maple, white ash,        and black cherry to release and fertilization. Canadian Journal of        Forestry. 9(2): 179-188.  [12508]
  • 14.  Graney, David L. 1989. Growth of oak, ash, and cherry reproduction        following overstory thinning and understory control in upland hardwood        stands of northern Arkansas. SO-74. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station. 245- p.        [12548]
  • 15.  Graney, David L.; Rogerson, Thomas L. 1985. Growth of oak, ash, and        cherry reproduction following overstory thinning of upland hardwood        stands in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas. In: Dawson, Jeffrey O.;        Majerus, Kimberly A., eds. Proceedings, 5th central hardwood forest        conference; 1985 April 15-17; Urbana-Champaign, IL. Urbana-Champaign,        IL: University of Illinois, Department of Forestry: 4-10.  [12646]
  • 27.  Schlesinger, Richard C. 1990. Fraxinus americana L.  white ash. In:        Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics        of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 333-338.  [13965]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

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More info for the terms: chamaephyte, geophyte, phanerophyte

   Undisturbed State:  Phanerophyte (megophanerophyte)
   Undisturbed State:  Chamaephyte
   Burned or Clipped State:  Chamaephyte
   Burned or Clipped State:  Cryptophyte (geophyte)

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Life Form

More info for the term: tree

Tree

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Immediate Effect of Fire

Fire kills the aboveground stem and crown of white ash [21].
  • 21.  McGee, Charles E. 1980. The effect of fire on species dominance in young        upland hardwood stands. In: Proceedings, mid-south upland hardwood        symposium for the practicing forester and land manager; [Date of        conference unknown]

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Reaction to Competition

White ash is a pioneer species  that establishes itself on fertile abandoned fields in several  parts of the country. In the Southeast, much of the abandoned  agricultural land is incapable of supporting white ash. On such  sites, white ash establishes itself only after some site  protection and improvement has been accomplished by pines.  However, pioneer ash often do not develop into good timber trees  unless other hardwoods or pines are also present to provide  competition and reduce branchiness.

    Open-grown trees commonly remain single stemmed and fine branched  until they are 9 to 12 ni (30 to 40 ft) tall, although old  specimens can become as broad crowned as an elm. With even slight  crowding, the single-stemmed characteristic can easily be  maintained throughout a rotation. Shade-killed branches drop  quickly-small ones within a year or two and larger ones within 4  or 5 years (16).

    Uninjured terminal buds suppress the growth of all lateral buds on  the current year's growth, and they suppress the growth of other  laterals to such an extent that each internode has only one pair  of branches that persist more than a few years. Even the  strongest lateral branches grow only half as fast as the terminal  except on old, open-grown trees. Little or no epicormic branching  occurs on the boles of released trees. The branches of dominant  trees emerge from the bole at about a 35° angle from the  vertical, whereas the branches of intermediate trees emerge at  about a 55° angle (16).

    When young, white ash is a shade-tolerant tree. Seedlings can  survive under a canopy with less than 3 percent of full sunlight  but grow little under these conditions. Seedlings that receive  sufficient sunlight grow rapidly. With increasing age, white ash  becomes less tolerant of shade and is classed overall as  intolerant. The decrease in shade tolerance with increasing age  is reflected in the fact that young white ash is abundant in the  understory of northern hardwood stands, but few grow into the  overstory unless provided with light from above.

    Despite its low shade tolerance, white ash is characteristic of  intermediate as well as early stages of natural plant succession.  Throughout its range it is a minor but constant component of both  the understory and overstory of mature forests on suitable soils.  It owes its position in the final overstory to its ability to  persist for a few years in moderately dense shade and to respond  quickly to openings in the canopy created by death or other  causes.

    White ash can be maintained more easily in a dense stand than can  some of its more shade-intolerant associates, such as northern  red oak. In contrast, dominant or codominant white ash responds  readily to thinning and within a few years will increase its  crown area to take full advantage of any reasonable release (16).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Richard C. Schlesinger

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Rooting Habit

White ash generally forms a taproot that in  turn branches into a few large roots that grow downward. From  these vertical roots, single lateral branches develop at  intervals. Intraspecific grafting is common. The distribution of  roots is strongly influenced by soil type. On a loamy sand, most  of the roots, both large and small, were in the A horizon. On a  fine sandy loam, the majority of the fine roots were in the B,  horizon, and the large roots equally in the A and B1.

    Knowledge of mycorrhizal associations is limited. Gyrodon  merulioides has been reported on white ash. Seedlings  inoculated with the endomycorrhizal fungi Glomus mosseae and  G. fasciculatus grew markedly better than nonmycorrhizal  controls (12).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Richard C. Schlesinger

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

White ash flower buds break dormancy from April to May, with the
vegetative buds breaking immediately after the flowers [27,30].  The
fruit ripens from August to October [24], and seeds are dispersed from
August to November [2].
  • 2.  Bjorkbom, J. C. 1979. Seed production and advance regeneration in        Allegheny hardwood forests. Res. Pap. NE-435. Upper Darby, PA: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest        Experiment Station. 10 p.  [12526]
  • 24.  Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of        the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of        North Carolina Press. 1183 p.  [7606]
  • 27.  Schlesinger, Richard C. 1990. Fraxinus americana L.  white ash. In:        Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics        of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 333-338.  [13965]
  • 30.  Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest.        Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p.  [7707]

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Reproduction

Vegetative Reproduction

Stumps of freshly cut seedling  and sapling white ash sprout readily. Usually only one or two  stems are produced. This species can be propagated by  conventional methods of budding, grafting, or layering. Even open  field and bench grafting of unpotted stock are highly successful.  Diploid, tetraploid, and hexaploid white ash have all been  successfully grafted on diploid stock.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Richard C. Schlesinger

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Seedling Development

Germination is epigeal. Natural  regeneration from seeds will occur if the soil, humus, or leaf  litter is wet in the spring. Under experimental conditions,  seedlings developed best in 45 percent of full sunlight (8). Thus  silvicultural systems that can provide sunlight, such as  shelterwood or clearcutting, have been recommended for white ash.

    Photoperiodic response appears to vary with geographic location.  North Carolina seedlings showed no growth response to a 14.5-hour  daylength. In a Massachusetts test, however, northern seedlings  ceased height growth and dropped their leaves well before the  first frost, while southern seedlings continued height growth  until late autumn.

    Vegetative buds begin to enlarge in April or May. Height growth is  90 percent complete in 30 days, and 100 percent complete in 60  days. Diameter growth generally continues until August.

    Young white ash exhibits strong apical dominance. Thrifty  open-grown seedlings 2 in (6.6 ft) tall often have only two or  three pairs of lateral branches, and sometimes none. If the  terminal bud is removed, apical dominance is altered and new  branches develop from the uppermost pair of lateral buds.  Generally one of these grows faster than the other and soon  assumes apical control.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Seed Production and Dissemination

The seed is dispersed  by wind up to 140 in (460 ft) from the parent tree. White ash  seed has a very pronounced dormancy. Although the embryo is  completely developed morphologically at the time of seedfall  (September to December), the physiological state of the endosperm  and embryo inhibit germination. Seeds must be stratified under  moist conditions for 2 or 3 months before they will germinate,  and the average laboratory germination is 54 percent. The minimum  seed-bearing age is 20 years (14).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Richard C. Schlesinger

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Flowering and Fruiting

White ash is dioecious; flowers  appear with or just before the leaves in April and May. A good  seed crop is produced about every third year. The time between  the first noticeable enlargement of the male flower buds until  shedding is 2 to 3 weeks. Pollen shedding from an individual tree  usually takes 3 or 4 days. The pollen is carried by wind as far  as 100 in (328 ft) from the point of dispersion.

    Female buds are completely open a few days after they begin to  swell. Exposed flowers remain receptive for about I week, but  once the stigmas discolor, the period of receptivity is past.  Abundant seed crops are borne by about half of the flowering  trees.

    Good seeds are produced in all parts of the crown. Almost 99  percent of the fruits (samaras) contain one seed, about 1 percent  contain two, and a very small percent have twin embryos. Vigorous  trees may first flower when only 8 to 10 cm (3 to 4 in) in  d.b.h., but white ash is usually 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 in) in  d.b.h. before it flowers abundantly.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Growth

Growth and Yield

Depending on the amount of root  competition, a field-grown white ash tree in full sunlight may  take from 3 to 15 years to become 1.5 m (5 ft) tall. By then, its  root system is usually well established and white ash is able to  grow rapidly even if surrounded by weeds. Post-juvenile growth  rates of dominant and codominant trees in unthinned, even-aged  stands in central Massachusetts are as follows:

   

    Age  D.b.h.  Height        (yr)  (cm)  (in)  (m)  (ft)    20  10  4  12  39    30  18  7  17  56    40  25  10  21  69    50  30  12  23  75    60  36  14  25  82    70  43  17  27  89       

    Yield tables are not available for white ash in pure stands.  However, for plantations in Canada ranging in age from 20 to 38  years, We growth of the dominant and codominant trees averaged 3  to 5 mm. (0.1 to 0.2 in) per year in diameter and 0.2 to 0.8 m  (0.7 to 2.6 ft) in height (13). In mixed Appalachian hardwood  stands, diameter growth ranged from 3 to 8 mm (0.1 to 0.3 in) per  year, depending on site quality and individual tree variation.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Genetics

Population Differences    White ash contains several phenotypic variants of leaf form that  appear to be genetically controlled even though they are randomly  distributed throughout the natural range. Chief among these are  9-leaflet, narrow-leaflet, blunt-leaflet, ascidiate leaflet,  partially pubescent, purple-keyed, and crinkle-leaf forms. A  purple leaf variant is vegetatively propagated and grown as an  ornamental.

    White ash is a polyploid species. Diploids (2n=46) occur  throughout the species range but most tetraploids (2n=92) are  found south of latitude 35° N and hexaploids (2n=138) are  concentrated between latitude 35° and 40° N. Although  three ecotypes were previously recognized on the basis of  seedling morphology and ploidy level (15), recent work has shown  that the variation in several traits is closely related to  latitude. This clonal variation and the strong effects of ploidy  level on several other traits indicate that ecotypes probably do  not exist in white ash (2).

    Hybrids    White ash and Texas ash (Fraxinus texensis (Gray) Sarg.)  intergrade in Texas. The pumpkin ash (Fraxinus profunda (Bush)  Bush) behaves in many respects as if it were a true breeding  hexaploid derivative of a cross between tetraploid white ash and  diploid green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marsh.).  However, attempts have failed to artificially cross the two  species. It is likely that natural hybridization between white  ash and other species is extremely rare (16).

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
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Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Fraxinus americana

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Fraxinus americana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 13
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Status

Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status, such as, state noxious status and wetland indicator values.

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the term: natural

White ash is susceptible to a variety of natural and man-made pathogens.
Ash decline (also called ash dieback or ash yellows) has increased over
the last 40 years and is especially prevalent in New York, Pennsylvania,
and Vermont.  Mortality rates are as high as 90 percent in some areas of
New York.  Nearly all of the ash decline from 1980 to 1986 occurred in
areas with high levels of atmospheric deposition of sulfur (S0x) and
nitrous (NOx) oxides.  Although there is no concrete evidence that acid
deposition is the causal agent, it can not be dismissed [23].  Ash
decline probably results from multiple factors--the disease, ash
yellows, caused by a mycoplasmalike organism; canker fungi (Fusicoccum
spp.); viruses; acid deposition; and drought [16].  Maintaining good
tree vigor is the primary control recommendation.  Preventative measures
that seem to abate ash decline include [16]:  watering, fertilizing,
applying fungicide, covering wounds with a fungicide-augmented dressing,
and avoiding planting white ash in areas of high acid deposition.

White ash has been found to be sensitive to ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide
(SO2), and acid deposition.  Chappelka and others [3] found that total
biomass was reduced 14 percent after exposure to these atmospheric
contaminants.  Visible evidence is characterized by initial purple-white
stippling on the adaxial leaf surface which turns into necrotic lesions.
This occurred on 66 percent of the plants.

White ash varies in cold hardiness with the latitude of origin.  Trees
grown in the North have a lower lethal temperatures than those from the
South.  When revegetating an area, seed and seedlings must be procured
from a source that is climatically and geographically similar [1,13].

Clark and Schroeder [4] have developed equations to calculate the green
volume, green weight, and dry weight of white ash.
  • 1.  Alexander, Nancy L.; Flint, Harrison L.; Hammer, P. Allen. 1984.        Variation in cold-hardiness of Fraxinus americana stem tissue according        to geographic origin. Ecology. 65(4): 1087-1092.  [2898]
  • 3.  Chappelka, A. H.; Chevone, B. I.; Burk, T. E. 1988. Growth response of        green and white ash seedlings to ozone, sulfur dioxide, and simulated        acid rain. Forest Science. 34(4): 1016-1029.  [6165]
  • 4.  Clark, Alexander, III; Schroeder, James G. 1986. Weight, volume, and        physical properties of major hardwood species in the southern        Appalachian Mountains. Res. Pap. SE-253. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department        of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Experiment Station. 63 p.        [11023]
  • 13.  Goldsmith, F. B.; Boudreau, P. 1979. Height growth and apical damage of        white ash (Fraxinus americana L.) from various latitudes outplanted in        New Brunswick. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 9: 27-30.  [3716]
  • 16.  Hibben, Craig R.; Silverborg, Savel B;. 1978. Severity and causes of ash        dieback. Journal of Arboriculture. 4(12): 274-279.  [4332]
  • 23.  Millers, Imants; Shriner, David S.; Rizzo, David. 1989. History of        hardwood decline in the eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-126.        Bromall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 75 p.  [10925]

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Cultivars, improved and selected materials (and area of origin)

Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office for more information. Look in the phone book under ”United States Government.” The Natural Resources Conservation Service will be listed under the subheading “Department of Agriculture.” These plant materials are readily available from commercial sources.

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Environmental concerns

Ash decline (or “ash dieback” or “ash yellows”) is the most serious problem affecting white ash. The decline is especially prevalent in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont but occurs from the Great Plains to the Atlantic coast at 39–45 N latitude. Mycoplasma-like organisms (MLO, the cause of ash yellows) have been found associated with most of the dying trees.Not all dying trees are infected and ash decline is thought to result from multiple causes – MLO plus various fungi and viruses, as well as atmospheric pollution and drought. Maintenance of good tree vigor is the primary control recommendation.

White ash is sensitive to ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and associated acid deposition, which may cause the appearance of necrotic lesions on the leaves. Most of recent ash decline has occurred in areas with high levels of these gases.

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White ash prefers moist, deep soils for best growth but is adaptable to a wide range of soil pH. Full sun is best. Young plants are easily transplanted and established. White ash has been successfully used in the reclamation of strip mines in Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. Seedlings provide a better start than direct seeding, and planting should be in mixtures with other hardwoods. White ash is more ornamental than green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) but is less adaptable, grows at a slower rate, and is more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Bud grafting generally propagates white ash cultivars. The species also can be propagated by conventional methods of grafting and layering; open field and bench grafting of unpotted stock have been successful.

Fire kills the aboveground stem and crown of white ash, but it resprouts from the root crown after fire. White ash is moderately susceptible to decay and insect damage induced through fire damage.

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

White Ash prefers partial to full sun, moist to dry-mesic conditions, and a deep loamy soil that is high in nitrogen and calcium. Small saplings can tolerate more shade than mature trees. This tree is vulnerable to the disease complex, Ash Yellows, which is potentially fatal. It is also somewhat sensitive to ozone, sulfur dioxide, and other forms of air pollution. Range & Habitat
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Economic Uses

Uses: MEDICINE/DRUG

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Other uses and values

More info for the term: tree

The juice from the leaves of white ash can be applied topically to
mosquito bites for relief of swelling and itching [17].  White ash has a
specialized use as a prophylactic measure for snake bite.  If one
carries the crushed leaves in his/her pockets the odor has been "proved"
offensive to rattlesnakes [27].

Open-grown white ash is useful as a shade and ornamental tree [17].
  • 17.  Hosie, R. C. 1969. Native trees of Canada. 7th ed. Ottawa, ON: Canadian        Forestry Service, Department of Fisheries and Forestry. 380 p.  [3375]
  • 27.  Schlesinger, Richard C. 1990. Fraxinus americana L.  white ash. In:        Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics        of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 333-338.  [13965]

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Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

White ash has been used in Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania in the
reclamation of surface coal mines, with 45 percent survival after 30
years.  White ash should be planted in mixtures with other hardwoods;
interplanting with European alder (Alnus glutimosa) nearly doubled the
height and d.b.h. of white ash on a site in eastern Kentucky.  White ash
seedlings are recommended for planting; direct seeding in Ohio produced
poor results.  On acid spoils the lower pH limit for white ash is 4.0
[31].
  • 31.  Vogel, Willis G. 1981. A guide for revegetating coal minesoils in the        eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-68. Broomall, PA: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest        Experiment Station. 190 p.  [15575]

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Cover Value

More info for the term: cover

White ash provides hiding and thermal cover for a variety of mammals and
birds.  The degree to which white ash provides environmental protection
during one or more seasons for wildlife species in several eastern
states has been rated as follows [26,27,28]:

                         ME        PA        WV        MI        KY

White-tailed deer       good      good      good      good      good
Small mammals           good      good      good      good      good
Small nongame birds     good      good      good      good      good
upland game birds       good      good      good      good      good
Waterfowl               good      good      good      good      good
  • 26.  Runde, Douglas E.; Capen, David E. 1987. Characteristics of northern        hardwood trees used by cavity-nesting birds. Journal of Wildlife        Management. 51(1): 217-223.  [13743]
  • 27.  Schlesinger, Richard C. 1990. Fraxinus americana L.  white ash. In:        Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics        of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 333-338.  [13965]
  • 28.  Twight, Peter A.; Minckler, Leon S. 1972. Ecological forestry for the        Northern hardwood forest. Washington, DC: National Parks and        Conservation Association. 12 p.  [3508]

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Nutritional Value

White ash browse has a low protein content and low phosphorus:calcium
ratio, giving it a poor nutritional rating in the winter; however, in
the spring and summer the protein content increases to 7.7 percent,
increasing its rating to fair [19].

The nutrient values for white ash browse collected on January 16 were as
follows (data presented is in percent composition) [19].

                            N-free
Protein     Fat     Fiber   Extract    Ash    Phosphorus   Calcium

3.47        0.95    37.56   40.90      2.12   0.07         0.74
  • 19.  Lay, Daniel W. 1957. Browse quality and the effects of prescribed        burning in southern pine forests. Journal of Forestry. 55: 342-347.        [7633]

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Palatability

The palatability of white ash browse for deer and cattle varies from
poor in the fall and winter to fair in the summer [22].  The samaras are
good forage in the fall [27].

The relish and the degree of use shown by livestock and wildlife species
for white ash in several eastern states has been rated as follows
[22,27]:

                        ME        PA        WV        MI        KY

Cattle                  fair      fair      fair      fair      fair
White-tailed deer       fair      fair      fair      fair      fair
Small mammals           good      good      good      good      good
Small nongame birds     good      good      good      good      good
Upland game birds       good      good      good      good      good
Waterfowl               good      good      good      good      good
  • 22.  Michael, Edwin D. 1988. Effects of white-tailed deer on Appalachian        hardwood regeneration. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd,        William E., Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian hardwood        stands: Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV. SAF Publ.        88-03. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 89-96.  [13936]
  • 27.  Schlesinger, Richard C. 1990. Fraxinus americana L.  white ash. In:        Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics        of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 333-338.  [13965]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the terms: cover, tree

White ash is an important source of browse and cover for livestock and
wildlife.  The samaras are good forage for the wood duck, northern
bobwhite, purple finch, pine grosbeak, fox squirrel, and mice, and many
other birds and small mammals [27].  White ash is browsed mostly in the
summer by white-tailed deer and cattle [22].  The bark of young trees is
occasionally used as food by beaver, porcupine, and rabbits [27].

White ash's ability to readily form trunk cavities if the top is broken
and its large d.b.h. (24 to 48 inches [61-122 cm]) at maturity make it
highly valuable for primary cavity nesters such as red-headed,
red-bellied, and pileated woodpeckers.  Once the primary nest excavators
have opened up the bole of the tree, it is excellent habitat for
secondary nesters such as wood ducks, owls, nuthatches, and gray
squirrels [7].
  • 7.  DeGraaf, Richard M; Shigo, Alex L. 1985. Managing cavity trees for        wildlife in the Northeast. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-101. Broomall, PA: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest        Experiment Station. 21 p.  [13481]
  • 22.  Michael, Edwin D. 1988. Effects of white-tailed deer on Appalachian        hardwood regeneration. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd,        William E., Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian hardwood        stands: Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV. SAF Publ.        88-03. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 89-96.  [13936]
  • 27.  Schlesinger, Richard C. 1990. Fraxinus americana L.  white ash. In:        Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics        of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 333-338.  [13965]

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Wood Products Value

More info for the term: resistance

The wood of white ash is economically important due to its strength,
hardness, weight, and shock resistance [17].  It is second only to
hickory (Carya spp.) for use in the production of tool handles.  Nearly
all wooden baseball bats are made from white ash [11].  The wood is also
used in furniture, antique vehicle parts, railroad cars and ties, canoe
paddles, snowshoes [23], boats, doors, and cabinets [30].
  • 17.  Hosie, R. C. 1969. Native trees of Canada. 7th ed. Ottawa, ON: Canadian        Forestry Service, Department of Fisheries and Forestry. 380 p.  [3375]
  • 23.  Millers, Imants; Shriner, David S.; Rizzo, David. 1989. History of        hardwood decline in the eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-126.        Bromall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 75 p.  [10925]
  • 30.  Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest.        Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p.  [7707]
  • 11.  Gansner, David A.; Widmann, Richard H. 1990. Enough white ash for wooden        bats?. Northern Logger & Timber Processor. 38(10): 32-33.  [11774]

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Special Uses

One of the earliest reported uses of white ash was as a snake bite  preventive. Ash leaves in a hunter's pocket or boots were "proved"  to be offensive to rattlesnakes and thereby provided protection  from them. Seeds of white ash are eaten by the wood duck, bob  white, purple finch, pine grosbeak, and fox squirrel. White ash  is used in yard, street, and roadside plantings and also has been  planted on strip mines with some success.

  • Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, technical coordinators. 1990. Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods.   Agriculture Handbook 654 (Supersedes Agriculture Handbook 271,Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, 1965).   U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol.2, 877 pp.   http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/table_of_contents.htm External link.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

Richard C. Schlesinger

Source: Silvics of North America

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Uses

White ash is a good tree for open areas such as parks and campuses; it also is used as a lawn, shade, and street tree, even though its potential large size can make it incongruous with a small area. It is an erect, graceful tree, often with bronze-purple fall foliage. It is easy to transplant and numerous cultivars have been developed, including seedless (male) forms. Other selections are based on yellow to orange and purple fall colors, persistence of leaves in the fall, height, crown shape (broadly to narrowly oval) and density, growth vigor, and cold hardiness. White ash also has been used in re-vegetating disturbed sites.

The wood of white ash is valued for its strength, hardness, heavy weight, and elasticity (shock resistance). Native Americans appreciated its usefulness for tools and implements, and it is used extensively today for tool handles. Its use in wooden baseball bats is famous. The wood is also used in furniture, doors, veneer, antique vehicle parts, railroad cars and ties, canoe paddles, snowshoes, boats, posts, ties, and fuel. White ash is the most valuable timber tree of the various ashes.

White ash was used by Native Americans for a variety of medicinal purposes: a decoction of the leaves as a laxative and general tonic for women after childbirth; the seeds as an aphrodisiac, a diuretic, an appetite stimulant, a styptic, an emetic, and as a cure for fevers; and a bark tea for an itching scalp, lice, snakebite, and other sores. Juice from the leaves has been applied to mosquito bites for relief of swelling and itching.

White-tailed deer and cattle browse white ash and beaver, porcupine, and rabbits may eat the bark of young trees. The seeds are eaten by wood duck, northern bobwhite, turkey, grouse, finches, grosbeaks, cardinals, fox squirrel, mice, and many other birds and small mammals. The tendency of white ash to form trunk cavities makes it valuable for cavity nesters such as redheaded, red-bellied, and pileated woodpeckers. Once primary nest excavators have opened up the bole, it is an excellent habitat for secondary nesters such as wood ducks, owls, nuthatches, and gray squirrels.

Public Domain

USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center & the Biota of North America Program

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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Wikipedia

Fraxinus americana

This article is about the tree. For the town in Kentucky, see White Ash, Kentucky. For another species referred to as white ash, see Eucalyptus fraxinoides.

Fraxinus americana (white ash or American ash) is a species of Fraxinus native to eastern North America found in mesophytic hardwood forests from Nova Scotia west to Minnesota, south to northern Florida, and southwest to eastern Texas. Isolated populations are also reported from western Texas, Wyoming and Colorado, and the species is reportedly naturalized in Hawaii.[1][2][3]

Characteristics[edit]

The name White Ash derives from the glaucous undersides of the leaves. It is similar in appearance to the Green Ash, making identification difficult. The lower sides of the leaves of White Ash are lighter in color than their upper sides, and the outer surface of the twigs of White Ash may be flaky or peeling. Green Ash leaves are similar in color on upper and lower sides, and twigs are smoother. Despite some overlap, the two species tend to grow in different locations as well; White Ash is a forest tree that commonly occurs alongside Sugar Maple while Green Ash is a pioneer species that inhabits riparian zones and disturbed areas.[4][5]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

White ash is one of the most used trees for everyday purposes and, to keep up with high demand, is cultivated almost everywhere it can be. The wood is white and quite dense (within 20% of 670 kg/m3),[6] strong, and straight-grained. It is the timber of choice for production of baseball bats and tool handles. The wood is also favorable for furniture and flooring. Woodworkers use the timber mainly for internal uses due to high perishability in contact with ground soil.[6] It is also used to make lobster traps. Recently, it has also become a popular choice for solidbody electric guitar wood as well. It has also frequently one of the best choices for conga drum factoring, as we can see in top conga drum as Lp's Galaxy Giovanni Hidalgo model. It makes a very servicable longbow if properly worked. The wood was used in ceiling fan blades from the 1970s through the mid-1980s, though cane was sometimes simulated with plastic then. It is no longer used for ceiling fan blades in most countries.

The tree has a mast crop every 11 years and is very easy to plant and cultivate with a survival rate of 30%.[citation needed]

White Ash is not seen in cultivation as often as Green Ash due to its preference for undisturbed forest sites away from urban pollution and soil compaction, but sometimes has been planted for its consistently reliably autumn colors, which typically are bright orange and red hues as opposed to other species of ash that produce a uniform yellow color.

Other names occasionally used for the species include Biltmore ash, Biltmore white ash and cane ash.

Emerald ash borer[edit]

Main article: Emerald ash borer

The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis or Agrilus marcopoli and EAB) is a green beetle native to Asia.

In North America the borer is an invasive species, highly destructive to ash trees in its introduced range. The damage of this insect rivals that of Chestnut blight and Dutch Elm Disease.[7] To put its damage in perspective, the number of chestnuts killed by the Chestnut blight was around 3.5 billion chestnut trees while there are 3.5 billion ash trees in Ohio alone. Dutch Elm Disease killed only 200 million elm trees while EAB threatens 7.5 billion ash trees in the United States. The insect threatens the entire North American Fraxinus genus, while past invasive tree pests have only threatened a single species within a genus. Since its accidental introduction into the United States and Canada in the 1990s, and its subsequent detection in 2002, it has spread to eleven states and adjacent parts of Canada. It has killed at least 50 million ash trees so far and threatens to kill most of the ash trees throughout North America. The green ash and the black ash trees are preferred. White ash is also killed rapidly, but usually only after green and black ash trees are eliminated. Blue ash displays some resistance to the emerald ash borer by forming callous tissue around EAB galleries; however, they are usually killed. White ash has been less affected by emerald ash borer due to its small population (unlike its cousin, F. americana is not commonly seen in cultivation) compared to Green ash, which was planted in huge numbers as an ornamental.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Fraxinus americana
  2. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Fraxinus americana
  3. ^ Biota of North America Program, map, Fraxinus americana
  4. ^ Common Trees of the North Carolina Piedmont: Fraxinus americana
  5. ^ New Brunswick tree and shrub: Fraxinus americana
  6. ^ a b White Ash, Niche Timbers. Retrieved on 2009-07-24.
  7. ^ Bruce Schlink (2012). Americans Held Hostage by the Environmentalist Movement. Dorrance Publishing. p. 494. ISBN 9781434975362. 

Sources (some not Wikified)[edit]

Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Common Names

white ash
Biltmore ash
Biltmore white ash
cane ash
small-seed white ash

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The currently accepted scientific name of white ash is Fraxinus
americana L. [29]. White ash is in the Oleaceae (olive) family [27].
Currently recognized varieties of white ash are [24]:

F. americana var. americana
F. americana var. biltmoreana (Beadle) J. Wright
  • 24.  Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of        the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of        North Carolina Press. 1183 p.  [7606]
  • 27.  Schlesinger, Richard C. 1990. Fraxinus americana L.  white ash. In:        Burns, Russell M.; Honkala, Barbara H., technical coordinators. Silvics        of North America. Vol. 2. Hardwoods. Agric. Handb. 654. Washington, DC:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 333-338.  [13965]
  • 29.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982.        National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names.        SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p.  [11573]

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Synonyms

Fraxinus biltmoreana Beadle

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