ASH TREE IDENTIFICATION
In the United States and Canada, Emerald Ash Borers only attack ash trees, members of the genus Fraxinus. The ash species of concern in NY are Black ash (Fraxinus nigra), Green ash (F. pennsylvanica), and White ash (F. americana).
White ash is native and the most common ash in New York State. Indeed, New York has more white ash than any other state. It prefers rich, well-drained soils. White ash wood is unique and is sought after for production of handles, oars, baseball bats, furniture, cabinetry, and many other specialty uses. Many birds feed on the winged seeds.
Green ash grows in moist bottomlands or on stream banks, and is hardy in extreme climates. Green ash is a keystone species in swamp forests, especially important on the Lake Ontario plain and along the St. Lawrence River. It is the ash most commonly planted along streets, in parks and in home landscapes and the seeds provide food for many wildlife species. Green ash is often marketed as white ash as both are used in cabinetry and furniture production.
Black ash is native, but uncommon, throughout New York State and much of the northeast and into Canada. It grows slowly in northern swampy woodlands, and is a keystone species in its ecosystem. Black ash typically grows on stream banks, in bogs, or in seasonally flooded areas. The easily split wood is used for basketry, and the seeds provide food for game birds, songbirds, and small animals, while deer and moose browse on the twigs and leaves.
Please see Ash Tree Identification factsheet for more information on ash tree identification.
Information on these species was found in:
Burns, Russell M., and Barbara H. Honkala, tech. coords. 1990. Silvics of North America: 2. Hardwoods. Agriculture Handbook 654. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington, DC. vol. 2, 877 p.