Bark: A young ash tree has relatively smooth bark which turns into a raised, diamond-like pattern as it ages. Its bark is generally a grey color, and green ash trees develop a green splotching of color on the trunk. An ash tree also has a unique quality called opposite branching, where all leaves and branches grow on the opposite side of each other.
Leaves: The ash tree has compound leaves, meaning there are 5-11 leaflets per stem, rather than just one leaf. They are are a light green and oval-shaped, with hairs on the lower surface.
Fruit: Ash fruit is a type of seed, single samara, surrounded by dry "wings," which resemble rowing oars. These are generally 1-2 inches in length.
We rate the ash tree as third class based on its current demand in markets. Ash trees make great firewood, and are used to make various tools, handles, bows and baseball bats. Yet, despite their many uses, these trees are slowly disappearing due to an invasive species called Emerald Ash Borer. It is up to each landowner to decide if they want to have their ash trees harvested.
Benefit to Forest:
Ash trees and their fruit provide shelter and food for various creatures including birds, insects and squirrels.
Emerald Ash Borer:
Ash trees are currently dying out due to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a beetle native to Asia. The beetles themselves cause little damage to the tree and just feed on the leaves of the trees. Their larvae, on the other hand, eat holes through the inner bark, which eventually kills the tree. The beetles are continuing to spread throughout America despite many attempts to save the trees. Learn more about the Emerald Ash Borer and how to try and prevent their spread.