Native, medium to large sized trees with attractive deciduous leaves and pale brown bark. Provides excellent shelter and habitat for birds, butterflies and moths.

Family: Oleaceae
Botanical Name: Fraxinus
Common Names: Ash

Foliage: Deciduous, green pinnate leaves. Yellow autumn colour.

Blossom: Small flowers, followed by winged fruits in autumn.

Flowering Period: Spring to early summer.

Soil: Moist but well-drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun, in a south, west or east facing aspect.

Habit: Tall with half-open spreading crown.

Type: Large tree.

Origin: Europe and northern hemisphere.

Hardiness: Fully hardy in the UK.

Planting and Growing Fraxinus

Plant in a rich, moist but well-drained, alkaline or neutral soil. Position in full sun or partial shade. Ash trees have wide-spreading roots so they should not be planted near walls or buildings.

Look out for self-sown seedlings and remove these as soon as possible to prevent unwanted spread.

Taking Care of Fraxinus

Pruning Fraxinus

Pruning is not necessary, except to remove any dead or damaged branches, from late spring to summer. Large, mature trees may required crown reduction, crown lifting and crown thinning.

Pests and Diseases

Can be affected by ash dieback disease and honey fungus. Note: Ash Dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) has become widespread in many areas of the UK and poses a serious threat to ash trees, particularly F. excelsior. Affected trees can become unsteady and often require felling.

Propagating Fraxinus

Sow seed of species outdoors in autumn. Propagate named varieties by grafting.

Varieties of Fraxinus

Most species grow into large trees suitable only for very large gardens and open parkland, although there are a few compact varieties more suited to domestic gardens.

Fraxinus americana (American ash, white ash) is an attractive fast growing tree. Height to 70ft (20m) or more.

Fraxinus augustifolia (narrow-leaved ash) forms a tall, elegant tree. Height to 70ft (20m) or more.

Fraxinus dimorpha (Algerian ash, wild ash) is a small dainty tree with small leaves.

Fraxinus excelsior (common ash) is a vigorous tree that thrives in almost any soil type and situation. Height to 100ft (30m) or more. Varieties include:

  • 'Aurea' has golden yellow young shoots and yellow autumn foliage.
  • 'Diversifolia' has unusual leaves, composed of one or three toothed leaflets.
  • 'Jaspidea' is a compact variety with yellow branches and golden foliage. Height to 15ft.
  • 'Pendula' forms a large attractive weeping tree. Height to 25ft.

Fraxinus mariesli (Maries' Ash) a small tree with pretty creamy-white flowers in summer.

Fraxinus ornus (Manna Ash) a large dense ornamental tree. Height 50ft (15m) or more.

Fraxinus oxycarpa a graceful tree with small leaves. Good autumn colour. Height 50ft (15m) or more.