Red Ash
Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Location in Ontario

Red Ash grows throughout the Deciduous Forest Region and northward. It is found along sandy shores, river valleys and flood plains.


Large Red Ash, Long Point, Norfolk County
 
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.

??Red Ash or White Ash?? They are hard to tell apart, except in fall when Red Ash has yellow leaves, and White Ash has reddish-purple leaves. White Ash leaves have whitish undersides, and upper branches that are smooth. The leaf scar is "C" shaped. Red Ash  leaves are densely hairy beneath, and have a "D" shaped leaf scar. The upper branches appear rough.

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
Red Ash is a medium sized tree, up to 25 metres tall, and living 100 to 150 years. Red Ash makes a good lawn tree with its nice form and leaves. It is risky to plant, however, due to Emerald Ash Borer.

TREE FACT: The name "Green Ash" is used for Red Ash trees which have hairless leaves, uncommon in Southern Ontario.
 


Beautiful landscape Red Ash, Norfolk County.

Leaves
Red Ash has opposite, compound leaves, with 5 to 9 leaflets. Leaves turn to yellow or gold in the fall.
Bark
The bark is grayish-brown with a diamond pattern, although the pattern is not as distinctive as White Ash. Sometimes it is tinged with red.
Flowers
Red Ash is dioecious (male and female flowers on different trees). Flowers are small and darkly coloured, and appear in early spring before the leaves. They are wind pollinated.
Fruit
The seeds, which are s
amaras, form in summer, and fall off in autumn. Some seeds persist into winter. Seed production occurs after 10 years of growth and seed crops usually occur every year.

Wood
Ash wood is hard and heavy. It is used for flooring and furniture, as well as hockey sticks, tennis rackets and tool handles.
Specific Gravity:
0.56
Janka Hardness: 1200 lb
Wood Comparison Chart

Genetics
Red Ash is diploid. It does not form hybrids, except with Velvet Ash, which does not occur in Canada, but is found in the United States.

TREE FACT: There is some evidence that Pumpkin Ash, a hexaploid, resulted from a cross between a diploid Red Ash and a tetraploid White Ash.


Red Ash, University of Guelph Arboretum

Link to United States Forest Service Silvics Manual: Red Ash

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