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.

Ash trees cover 1.5 million square miles in the US,
yet only 9% of that area is in EAB infested counties.
Now is the time to take action!














White ash (F. americana)
Credit: Richard Webb, Self-employed horticulurist, Bugwood.org
White ash bark
Credit: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org
White ash leaf
Credit: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org
White ash samaras
Credit: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

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.

Green ash (F. pennsylvanica)
Credit: Tom DeGomez, University of Arizona, Bugwood.org
Green ash bark
Credit: Richard Webb, Self-employed horticulturist, Bugwood.org
Green ash leaf
Credit: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org
Green ash samaras
Credit: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

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.

Black ash (F. nigra)
Credit: Rebecca Hargrave, Cornell Cooperative Extension
Black ash bark
Credit: Keith Kanoti, Maine Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Black ash leaf and bud
Credit: Rebecca Hargrave, Cornell Cooperative Extension
Black ash samaras
Credit: Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Bugwood.org

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.