Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Fraxinus americana


SPECIES: Fraxinus americana
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Griffith, Randy Scott. 1991. Fraxinus americana. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : FRAAME SYNONYMS : Fraxinus biltmoreana Beadle SCS PLANT CODE : FRAM2 COMMON NAMES : white ash Biltmore ash Biltmore white ash cane ash small-seed white ash TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of white ash is Fraxinus americana L. [29]. White ash is in the Oleaceae (olive) family [27]. Currently recognized varieties of white ash are [24]: F. americana var. americana F. americana var. biltmoreana (Beadle) J. Wright LIFE FORM : Tree FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Fraxinus americana
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : White ash inhabits eastern North America.  It occurs from Nova Scotia west to eastern Minnesota and south to Texas and northern Florida [23]. It is cultivated in Hawaii [34]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES10  White - red - jack pine    FRES11  Spruce - fir    FRES13  Loblolly - shortleaf pine    FRES14  Oak - pine    FRES15  Oak - hickory    FRES16  Oak - gum - cypress    FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood    FRES18  Maple - beech - birch    FRES19  Aspen - birch STATES :      AL  CT  DE  FL  GA  HI  IL  IN  IA  KS      KY  LA  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN  MS  MO  NE      NH  NJ  NC  OH  OK  PA  RI  SC  TN  TX      VT  VA  WV  WI  NB  NS  ON  PQ BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :    14  Great Plains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K081  Oak savanna    K082  Mosaic of K074 and K100    K084  Cross Timbers    K089  Black Belt    K090  Live oak - sea oats    K091  Cypress savanna    K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest    K095  Great Lakes pine forest    K097  Southeastern spruce - fir forest    K098  Northern floodplain forest    K099  Maple - basswood forest    K100  Oak - hickory forest    K101  Elm - ash forest    K102  Beech - maple forest    K103  Mixed mesophytic forest    K104  Appalachian oak forest    K106  Northern hardwoods    K107  Northern hardwoods - fir forest    K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest    K110  Northeastern oak - pine forest    K111  Oak - hickory - pine forest    K112  Southern mixed forest SAF COVER TYPES :    19  Gray birch - red maple    20  White pine - northern red oak - red maple    21  Eastern white pine    22  White pine - hemlock    23  Eastern hemlock    24  Hemlock - yellow birch    25  Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch    26  Sugar maple - basswood    27  Sugar maple    28  Black cherry - maple    33  Red spruce - balsam fir    39  Black ash - American elm - red maple    42  Bur oak    52  White oak - black oak - northern red oak    53  White oak    55  Northern red oak    57  Yellow poplar    58  Yellow poplar - eastern hemlock    59  Yellow poplar - white oak - northern red oak    60  Beech - sugar maple    63  Cottonwood    64  Sassafras - persimmon    80  Loblolly pine - shortleaf pine    82  Loblolly pine - hardwood    87  Sweet gum - yellow poplar    91  Swamp chestnut oak - cherrybark oak SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Coffman and others [6] list white ash as a dominant and an indicator in the habitat type classification of upper Michigan and northwestern Wisconsin.


SPECIES: Fraxinus americana
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : The wood of white ash is economically important due to its strength, hardness, weight, and shock resistance [17].  It is second only to hickory (Carya spp.) for use in the production of tool handles.  Nearly all wooden baseball bats are made from white ash [11].  The wood is also used in furniture, antique vehicle parts, railroad cars and ties, canoe paddles, snowshoes [23], boats, doors, and cabinets [30]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : White ash is an important source of browse and cover for livestock and wildlife.  The samaras are good forage for the wood duck, northern bobwhite, purple finch, pine grosbeak, fox squirrel, and mice, and many other birds and small mammals [27].  White ash is browsed mostly in the summer by white-tailed deer and cattle [22].  The bark of young trees is occasionally used as food by beaver, porcupine, and rabbits [27]. White ash's ability to readily form trunk cavities if the top is broken and its large d.b.h. (24 to 48 inches [61-122 cm]) at maturity make it highly valuable for primary cavity nesters such as red-headed, red-bellied, and pileated woodpeckers.  Once the primary nest excavators have opened up the bole of the tree, it is excellent habitat for secondary nesters such as wood ducks, owls, nuthatches, and gray squirrels [7]. PALATABILITY : The palatability of white ash browse for deer and cattle varies from poor in the fall and winter to fair in the summer [22].  The samaras are good forage in the fall [27]. The relish and the degree of use shown by livestock and wildlife species for white ash in several eastern states has been rated as follows [22,27]:                         ME        PA        WV        MI        KY Cattle                  fair      fair      fair      fair      fair White-tailed deer       fair      fair      fair      fair      fair Small mammals           good      good      good      good      good Small nongame birds     good      good      good      good      good Upland game birds       good      good      good      good      good Waterfowl               good      good      good      good      good NUTRITIONAL VALUE : White ash browse has a low protein content and low phosphorus:calcium ratio, giving it a poor nutritional rating in the winter; however, in the spring and summer the protein content increases to 7.7 percent, increasing its rating to fair [19]. The nutrient values for white ash browse collected on January 16 were as follows (data presented is in percent composition) [19].                             N-free Protein     Fat     Fiber   Extract    Ash    Phosphorus   Calcium 3.47        0.95    37.56   40.90      2.12   0.07         0.74 COVER VALUE : White ash provides hiding and thermal cover for a variety of mammals and birds.  The degree to which white ash provides environmental protection during one or more seasons for wildlife species in several eastern states has been rated as follows [26,27,28]:                          ME        PA        WV        MI        KY White-tailed deer       good      good      good      good      good Small mammals           good      good      good      good      good Small nongame birds     good      good      good      good      good upland game birds       good      good      good      good      good Waterfowl               good      good      good      good      good VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : White ash has been used in Ohio, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania in the reclamation of surface coal mines, with 45 percent survival after 30 years.  White ash should be planted in mixtures with other hardwoods; interplanting with European alder (Alnus glutimosa) nearly doubled the height and d.b.h. of white ash on a site in eastern Kentucky.  White ash seedlings are recommended for planting; direct seeding in Ohio produced poor results.  On acid spoils the lower pH limit for white ash is 4.0 [31]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : The juice from the leaves of white ash can be applied topically to mosquito bites for relief of swelling and itching [17].  White ash has a specialized use as a prophylactic measure for snake bite.  If one carries the crushed leaves in his/her pockets the odor has been "proved" offensive to rattlesnakes [27]. Open-grown white ash is useful as a shade and ornamental tree [17]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : White ash is susceptible to a variety of natural and man-made pathogens. Ash decline (also called ash dieback or ash yellows) has increased over the last 40 years and is especially prevalent in New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.  Mortality rates are as high as 90 percent in some areas of New York.  Nearly all of the ash decline from 1980 to 1986 occurred in areas with high levels of atmospheric deposition of sulfur (S0x) and nitrous (NOx) oxides.  Although there is no concrete evidence that acid deposition is the causal agent, it can not be dismissed [23].  Ash decline probably results from multiple factors--the disease, ash yellows, caused by a mycoplasmalike organism; canker fungi (Fusicoccum spp.); viruses; acid deposition; and drought [16].  Maintaining good tree vigor is the primary control recommendation.  Preventative measures that seem to abate ash decline include [16]:  watering, fertilizing, applying fungicide, covering wounds with a fungicide-augmented dressing, and avoiding planting white ash in areas of high acid deposition. White ash has been found to be sensitive to ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and acid deposition.  Chappelka and others [3] found that total biomass was reduced 14 percent after exposure to these atmospheric contaminants.  Visible evidence is characterized by initial purple-white stippling on the adaxial leaf surface which turns into necrotic lesions. This occurred on 66 percent of the plants. White ash varies in cold hardiness with the latitude of origin.  Trees grown in the North have a lower lethal temperatures than those from the South.  When revegetating an area, seed and seedlings must be procured from a source that is climatically and geographically similar [1,13]. Clark and Schroeder [4] have developed equations to calculate the green volume, green weight, and dry weight of white ash.


SPECIES: Fraxinus americana
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : White ash is a native, deciduous, long-lived tree [30].  Leaves are compound, 8 to 15 inches (20-38 cm) in length, and usually have seven oval, entire leaflets [17].  White ash is dioecious.  The male flowers bloom first, before the leaf buds break.  The pollen is already airborne during the 7 to 10 days when the female flowers are receptive [10,32]. The flowers are borne in panicles near branch tips.  White ash will start to flower when it is 3 to 4 inches (8-10 cm) in d.b.h., but abundant flowering does not occur until the tree is 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm) [10]. White ash obtains heights of 60 to 70 feet (18-21 m).  The bole is long, straight and free of branches for most of its length, and the crown is narrow and pyramidal when grown in a mixed stand.  Open-grown specimens have a short bole with a rounded crown [17]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :    Undisturbed State:  Phanerophyte (megophanerophyte)    Undisturbed State:  Chamaephyte    Burned or Clipped State:  Chamaephyte    Burned or Clipped State:  Cryptophyte (geophyte) REGENERATION PROCESSES : Sexual:  White ash samaras remain viable on the forest floor for 3 to 4 years [5].  The samaras require cold stratification; in the laboratory stratification at 41 to 14 degrees F (5 to -10 degrees C) for 2 to 3 months resulted in a mean germination of 54 percent.  Germination is epigeal and can occur on mineral soil, humus, or leaf litter, but the substrate must be moist [27]. Vegetative:  White ash resprouts from the root crown after logging or fire.  Sprouting ability decreases with age [27]. Silviculture:  Young stands (5 to 10 years) respond to the addition of nitrogen and thinning by increasing the number of stems per acre and increasing in height growth by 1 to 2 feet (0.3-0.6 m) [15], whereas older stands (35 to 85 years) do not exhibit increased growth from fertilization or release [8]. White ash responds well to shelterwood cutting.  Advanced regeneration grows best with 60 percent of the overstory removed [14]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : White ash grows best on deep, well-drained, moist soils with other hardwoods [17].  In the Northeast white ash occurs on middle mesophytic slopes, and it is reduced or lacking on dry, cold ridges and mountaintops.  White ash occurs on slightly elevated ridges in the floodplains of major streams in the Coastal Plain and on slopes along major streams in the Central States [27]. Soil:  White ash has a strong affinity for soils high in nitrogen and calcium [27]. Climate:  Climate varies widely within white ash's range.  The frost-free period ranges from 90 to 270 days.  Annual precipitation ranges from 30 to 60 inches (76-152 cm) per year.  Snow depths vary from 0 to more than 100 inches (254 cm) [27]. Elevation:  White ash grows from near sea level on the Coastal Plain to 3,450 feet (1,050 m) in the Cumberland Mountains [27]. Associates:  White ash's primary associates are eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), northern red oak (Quercus rubra), white oak (Q. alba), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), red maple (A. rubrum), yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), black cherry (Prunus serotina), eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), and yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) [27]. Understory associates are downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), pawpaw (Asimina triloba), American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana), flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), and eastern hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) [27]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : White ash is a pioneer species.  It is characteristic of early and intermediate stages of succession.  Although mature white ash is classified as shade intolerant, the seedlings are shade tolerant.  A seedling can survive at less than 3 percent of full sunlight for a few years.  This attribute allows the species to regenerate in gaps [27]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : White ash flower buds break dormancy from April to May, with the vegetative buds breaking immediately after the flowers [27,30].  The fruit ripens from August to October [24], and seeds are dispersed from August to November [2].


SPECIES: Fraxinus americana
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : White ash resprouts from the root crown after fire [21]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    survivor species; on-site surviving root crown or caudex    secondary colonizer; off-site seed carried to site after year 2


SPECIES: Fraxinus americana
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Fire kills the aboveground stem and crown of white ash [21]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : Fire wounds can increase a tree's susceptibility to insects and decay by weakening the plant and providing entry points.  Compared with other hardwoods, white ash is moderately susceptible to fire-damage-induced decay [33]. PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : McGee [21] found that after fires of varying intensity in a stand of 5-year-old saplings the number of white ash stems per acre increased as follows:                     Area 1         Area 2         Area 3         Area 4                           Burn           Burn           No Burn        Burn                     Moderate       Light          Control        Severe Saplings            424            215            123            109 Postfire increase   +91            +66            +13            +42
The Research Project Summaries Effects of surface fires in a mixed red and
eastern white pine stand in Michigan
and Early postfire effects of a prescribed
fire in the southern Appalachians of North Carolina
provides information on
prescribed fire and postfire response of plant community species, including white ash,
that was not available when this species review was originally written.



SPECIES: Fraxinus americana
REFERENCES :  1.  Alexander, Nancy L.; Flint, Harrison L.; Hammer, P. Allen. 1984.        Variation in cold-hardiness of Fraxinus americana stem tissue according        to geographic origin. Ecology. 65(4): 1087-1092.  [2898]  2.  Bjorkbom, J. C. 1979. Seed production and advance regeneration in        Allegheny hardwood forests. Res. Pap. NE-435. Upper Darby, PA: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest        Experiment Station. 10 p.  [12526]  3.  Chappelka, A. H.; Chevone, B. I.; Burk, T. E. 1988. Growth response of        green and white ash seedlings to ozone, sulfur dioxide, and simulated        acid rain. Forest Science. 34(4): 1016-1029.  [6165]  4.  Clark, Alexander, III; Schroeder, James G. 1986. Weight, volume, and        physical properties of major hardwood species in the southern        Appalachian Mountains. Res. Pap. SE-253. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department        of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southeastern Experiment Station. 63 p.        [11023]  5.  Clark, F. Bryan. 1962. White ash, hackberry, and yellow-poplar seed        remain viable when stored in the forest litter. Indiana Academy of        Science Proceedings. 1962: 112-114.  [237]  6.  Coffman, Michael S.; Alyanak, Edward; Resovsky, Richard. 1980. Field        guide habitat classification system: For Upper Peninsula of Michigan and        northeast Wisconsin. [Place of publication unknown]: Cooperative        Research on Forest Soils. 112 p.  [8997]  7.  DeGraaf, Richard M; Shigo, Alex L. 1985. Managing cavity trees for        wildlife in the Northeast. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-101. Broomall, PA: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest        Experiment Station. 21 p.  [13481]  8.  Ellis, Robert C. 1979. Response of crop trees of sugar maple, white ash,        and black cherry to release and fertilization. Canadian Journal of        Forestry. 9(2): 179-188.  [12508]  9.  Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and        Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p.  [905] 10.  Farmer, Robert E., Jr.; Pitcher, John A. 1981. Pollen handling for        southern hardwoods. In: Agric. Handb. 587. Washington, DC: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 77-83.  [12654] 11.  Gansner, David A.; Widmann, Richard H. 1990. Enough white ash for wooden        bats?. Northern Logger & Timber Processor. 38(10): 32-33.  [11774] 12.  Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others].        1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range        ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p.  [998] 13.  Goldsmith, F. B.; Boudreau, P. 1979. Height growth and apical damage of        white ash (Fraxinus americana L.) from various latitudes outplanted in        New Brunswick. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 9: 27-30.  [3716] 14.  Graney, David L. 1989. Growth of oak, ash, and cherry reproduction        following overstory thinning and understory control in upland hardwood        stands of northern Arkansas. SO-74. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station. 245- p.        [12548] 15.  Graney, David L.; Rogerson, Thomas L. 1985. Growth of oak, ash, and        cherry reproduction following overstory thinning of upland hardwood        stands in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas. In: Dawson, Jeffrey O.;        Majerus, Kimberly A., eds. Proceedings, 5th central hardwood forest        conference; 1985 April 15-17; Urbana-Champaign, IL. Urbana-Champaign,        IL: University of Illinois, Department of Forestry: 4-10.  [12646] 16.  Hibben, Craig R.; Silverborg, Savel B;. 1978. Severity and causes of ash        dieback. Journal of Arboriculture. 4(12): 274-279.  [4332] 17.  Hosie, R. C. 1969. Native trees of Canada. 7th ed. Ottawa, ON: Canadian        Forestry Service, Department of Fisheries and Forestry. 380 p.  [3375] 18.  Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation        of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York:        American Geographical Society. 77 p.  [1384] 19.  Lay, Daniel W. 1957. Browse quality and the effects of prescribed        burning in southern pine forests. Journal of Forestry. 55: 342-347.        [7633] 20.  Lyon, L. Jack; Stickney, Peter F. 1976. Early vegetal succession        following large northern Rocky Mountain wildfires. In: Proceedings, Tall        Timbers fire ecology conference and Intermountain Fire Research Council        fire and land management symposium; 1974 October 8-10; Missoula, MT. No.        14. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 355-373.  [1496] 21.  McGee, Charles E. 1980. The effect of fire on species dominance in young        upland hardwood stands. In: Proceedings, mid-south upland hardwood        symposium for the practicing forester and land manager; [Date of        conference unknown]; [Location of conference unknown]. Atlanta, GA: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Division of State and Private        Forestry: 97-104.  [12706] 22.  Michael, Edwin D. 1988. Effects of white-tailed deer on Appalachian        hardwood regeneration. In: Smith, H. Clay; Perkey, Arlyn W.; Kidd,        William E., Jr., eds. Guidelines for regenerating Appalachian hardwood        stands: Workshop proceedings; 1988 May 24-26; Morgantown, WV. SAF Publ.        88-03. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Books: 89-96.  [13936] 23.  Millers, Imants; Shriner, David S.; Rizzo, David. 1989. History of        hardwood decline in the eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-126.        Bromall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 75 p.  [10925] 24.  Radford, Albert E.; Ahles, Harry E.; Bell, C. Ritchie. 1968. Manual of        the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of        North Carolina Press. 1183 p.  [7606] 25.  Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant        geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p.  [2843] 26.  Runde, Douglas E.; Capen, David E. 1987. Characteristics of northern        hardwood trees used by cavity-nesting birds. Journal of Wildlife        Management. 51(1): 217-223.  [13743] 27.  Schlesinger, Richard C. 1990. Fraxinus americana L.  white ash. 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Broomall, PA: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest        Experiment Station. 190 p.  [15575] 32.  Wright, Jonathan W. 1953. Notes on flowering and fruiting of        northeastern trees. Station Paper No. 60. Upper Darby, PA: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest        Experiment Station. 38 p.  [5009] 33.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Region. 1989.        Final environmental impact statement. Vegetation management in the        Coastal Plain/Piedmont. Vol. 1. Management Bulletin R8-MB-23. Atlanta,        GA. 351 p.  [10220] 34.  St. John, Harold. 1973. List and summary of the flowering plants in the        Hawaiian islands. Hong Kong: Cathay Press Limited. 519 p.  [25354]