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Trees of Iowa: An Interactive Key

The Ashes
(Fraxinus sp.)

Leaves are opposite compound.

Photograph By Richard Webb, Self-employed horticulurist, Bugwood.org Photograph By Richard Webb, Self-employed horticulurist, Bugwood.org

Iowa is well supplied with several species of ash trees. They are white ash, green ash, blue ash, black ash, and Showy Mountain ash.

Ashes range from medium to large in size, attaining a height of from 80 to 90 feet, with the green and white ash growing the largest. They all do best on a moist soil, but can adapt to a variety of conditions.The green ash can be grown easily from seed and has been planted extensively throughout the state for shelterbelts and windbreaks and for erosion control. However, when planted on the heavier and drier soils its growth is retarded. The green ash is found mostly on flood plains when growing in its natural state. The blue ash and white ash are not considered to be flood plain trees, and are found growing on well-drained bottomlands and moist slopes. The blue ash is restricted to the extreme southeast corner of the state. The white ash is the most important of the four from a commercial standpoint.

All of the ashes have opposite-branching and pinnately compound leaves which almost immediately identify them. The ashes have five or more leaflets. The seeds look like miniature canoe paddles -- a double samara.

Is your ash tree with or without red-orange berries?

Hardiness: zones 3 through 9

Growth Rate:
moderate to fast

Mature Shape:
slightly pyramidal, upright with a rounded crown

Height:
50 to 80 feet

Width:
50 to 70 feet

Site Requirements:
Native to Iowa, ash trees grow best in full sun and moist, well-drained soils. Ash trees are tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions.