Black Ash
Fraxinus nigra

Location in Ontario
Black Ash grows throughout the Deciduous Forest Region and northward. Black Ash prefer wet, swampy locations.

COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) Status: Black Ash is identified as a Threatened species. This is due to the loss of trees from the Emerald Ash Borer.

COSEWIC: Black Ash


Black Ash at the University of Guelph Arboretum

Genus Fraxinus
Ash trees have opposite compound leaves. Ash can be monoecious or  dioecious depending on the species. Seeds are contained in a single winged samara (a seed in a papery tissue). Ash wood is valued for its strength and hardness. Black, Red and White Ash grow in Ontario, as well as two Carolinian species, Pumpkin Ash and Blue Ash. Unfortunately, the Emerald Ash Borer has killed millions of Ash trees (see the Tree Diseases page). Black Ash has been the most susceptible to the insect, while Blue Ash shows some immunity.

TREE FACT: Ash and Hickory are similar with compound leaves, but Ash leaves are opposite while Hickory leaves are alternate.
  
TREE FACT:  A spring rhyme, referring to which leaves appear first;
Oak before Ash, you get a splash.
Ash before Oak, you get a soak.

In the Landscape
Black Ash is a small, slow growing tree, up to 20 metres high, and short-lived to less than 100 years.  It has not been commonly used as a landscape tree. On a moist to wet site, Black Ash will develop into a tall, slender tree with pretty compound leaves and corky bark. Today, however, it is risky to plant, due to Emerald Ash Borer.

TREE FACT: Black Ash buds are very dark, almost black, leading to the name Black Ash.


Backus Woods, Norfolk County
 

Leaves
Black Ash leaves are compound and opposite, with 7-11 leaflets which are stalkless, with dense patches of hairs where they attach to the main stalk. Leaves turn from yellow to gold in the fall.
Bark
The bark is light gray with corky ridges, without the "diamond" pattern of the other ashes.
Flowers
Black Ash is polygamous; it can be monoecious and have male, female and perfect flowers on the same tree, or it can be dioecious with male and female flowers on different trees. Flowers are small and darkly coloured, and appear in late spring before or with the leaves. The flowers are wind pollinated.
Fruit
Seeds are samaras which form in summer, and fall off in early autumn.  Seed production occurs after 10 years of growth in intervals of 2 to 7 years.

Wood
Black Ash wood is hard and heavy, but less so than the other ashes. It bends easily so it is used for barrel hoops and other applications where bent wood is needed.
Specific Gravity:
  0.49
Janka Hardness:
 850 lb
Wood Comparison Chart

Genetics
Black Ash is diploid. It does not form hybrids.


University of Guelph Arboretum

Link to United States Forest Service Silvics Manual: Black Ash

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