American ash: resistant, decorative… what more could you ask for?

View of the leaves of the American ash tree

Image - Flickr / Virens (Latin for greening)

Trees are a basic decorative element of any garden. There are several sizes, so we can choose the one we like the most from a wide variety.

One of the most interesting is the american ash. It is very resistant to drought, grows in poor soils, and as if that were not enough, its autumnal coloration is magnificent.

Origin and characteristics of the American ash

Distribution range of American ash

Distribution range of American ash

Our protagonist is originally from North America. Its scientific name is Fraxinus americana, and belongs to the Oleaceae family. It has a reasonably fast growth rate, reaching 35 meters in height. Its leaves are deciduous, falling in autumn-winter, and sprouting again in spring. A noteworthy feature is that newer leaflets have a tendency to take on a very nice ivory color.

It blooms in spring, but you should know that it is necessary for there to be male and female specimens for them to pollinate. If there are, then during the summer the fruit will form, which is a samara about 5cm long, in which there are a dozen winged seeds.

In autumn he puts on his red suit, making the landscape look spectacular. If you don't believe me, take a look at this image:

American ash turns red in fall

Image - Flickr / Kew on Flickr // American ash in fall (the one on the right)

This incredible tree has a life expectancy of 100 years, so if you are looking for durable plants ... this is yours as well it is very easy to grow. You just have to locate it in a sunny area, and water it regularly avoiding waterlogging. Here are more tips:

How do you take care of yourself?

To have a well-cared for specimen, we recommend the following:


These trees They are from temperate and temperate-cold climates. They need to feel the passing of the seasons in order to grow, otherwise they would die. That is why they can only live in areas where springs and summers are mild, autumn cool with some frost, and cold winters with snowfall.


For what was commented before, and for being a large species, you must place your copy outside, in full sun, at a distance of at least ten meters from pipes and paved floors.


American ash is a tree

Image - Flickr / Virens (Latin for greening)

  • the garden: grows in soils rich in organic matter, well drained and slightly acidic, although it tolerates neutral ones.
  • Flower pot: During its youth it can be grown in a pot filled with a universal substrate or with a substrate for acidic plants. But when it reaches one meter in height, the ideal is to plant it in the ground.


The American ash does not withstand drought; Moreover, in its places of origin we will find it in the humid high areas, always near fresh water courses. Taking this into account, You have to water it very often: about 3-4 times a week in summer, and about 2 a week the rest of the year.

If you have it in a pot, during the summer you can take advantage of it and put a plate under it so that the substrate stays humid for a longer time.


During the growing season (spring and summer) it is advisable to fertilize it with organic fertilizers. A regular contribution, for example every 15 days, of compost, guano, manure or earthworm humus, will make the plant grow with health and strength.


Don't need it. However, you can remove dead, diseased, and weak branches in fall when it runs out of leaves, or in late winter before it sprouts.

Do this with pruning tools previously disinfected to prevent infection.

Planting or transplanting time

En spring, when the frosts have passed.

If it is in a pot, you should pass it to a larger one every 2 years.


The seeds of the American ash are winged

Image - Wikimedia / MPF

It multiplies by seeds in autumn-winter, as these need to be cold before germinating. For this you can do two things:

  • If you live in an area with cold autumns and winters with frosts, plant them in pots with substrate for seedlings and let nature take its course.
  • If you live in an area with a mild climate, it is better to stratify in the fridge for three months by putting them in tuppers with vermiculite and then putting this in the fridge, and then planting them in seedbeds in spring.


American ash resists frost down to -18ºC.

What uses is given to American ash?

It has several:


It is a tree of great beauty, perfect for spacious gardens. As an isolated specimen it is perfect, since in addition provides a nice shade.


By the way, did you know that it has medicinal properties? Yes Yes. The roots are used to lose weight and / or maintain weight, since they are diuretic and tonic. But they are also very effective in controlling sweat.


Timber used in the manufacture of hand toolsas well as baseball bats.

The Fraxinus americana is a deciduous tree

As you can see, the American ash is a tree for everything.

Did you know the incredible qualities of ash? What do you think?

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  1.   Hector mendoza said

    Hello Monica. In my house there have been cracks, there are those who attribute them to an American ash tree that I have planted in a "bit" of my patio, I think it is a humidity problem in my patio. A doubt, ash roots tend to sink or lift a house? Greetings and Thanks

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Hector.
      Yes, unfortunately the roots of the ash tree can lift floors and buildings 🙁.
      A greeting.

  2.   Ricardo Rodriguez said

    Hello Monica. I want to ask you if you know how far the roots can spread. I am interested in knowing because I want to plant one but the space in the garden is somewhat reduced. Approximately 4 meters per side.
    Thank you.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Ricardo.
      Ash roots tend to go deeper rather than horizontally. But it is true that if they "detect" moisture, even if it is in the most superficial layer of the soil, they will go for it even if it is several meters away. I can't tell you how many those meters are, since it depends on the type of land, the growing conditions, the climate, etc. But boy, the longer the soil is dry, that is, the less it is watered, the more the roots will spread looking for moisture.
      One option is to prune it. The lower it is, the less the roots will develop as the plant will not need so much water or so much "food. The time for this is autumn or early spring.
      A greeting.

  3.   fernando said

    therefore it must be kept moist. What if I place a cement pipe in the ground before planting it so that the roots go deep and not horizontal since they would run into the cement? Thank you

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Fernando.
      The roots of the American ash tree grow mainly vertically, and not so horizontally. What happens is that if there is a source of water nearby (less than 4m), irrigation boxes, pipes, or anything else, it will find it, and then it could destroy it.
      If there are not, they are usually planted in parks at a minimum distance of 2-3 meters from the cemented soil, since if it were planted closer, it could end up breaking it.
      Anyway, to avoid problems, you can make a large planting hole, 1m x 1m, and put an anti-rhizome mesh, sold in nurseries. This will ensure that the roots grow downward.
      A greeting.

  4.   Bill said

    Hi Monica, could you plant it ten feet from a lake in wet ground because it is close to the water table?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Guillermo.
      As long as there are no pipes or floors or anything to break, yes, no problem.
      A greeting.

  5.   Tomas said

    Tebho 3 American ash trees the temperatures here in norye de mexi or are up to 40 degrees or more on occasions that I must water them so much 2 of them already measure about 10 meters, glass 6 meters.
    The other one of them is drying some full bouquets I do not know why

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Tomas.
      In these conditions you should water them daily, or every two days, so that they do not lack water.
      A greeting.

  6.   Alicia Villanueva said

    My tree leaves are drying many from one day to another that I do not have happened I have 2 and only one is like that xfa grs.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Norma Alicia.
      Have you checked if it has any plagues? Although the two trees are of the same species and, therefore, need the same care, it usually happens that there is one that is a little less resistant or that needs more "pampering".
      Have you paid them? If not, it is advisable to do it in spring and summer. Normally, a diseased plant does not have to be fertilized, but if it happens that it has never been fertilized, that is precisely what it needs to recover.
      I recommend the guano, which is natural and has a fast effectiveness.
      A greeting.

  7.   nicolas said

    very good information, see how I distinguish a male from a female, I have 5 ash trees which only have the trunk and nothing has flowered..thanks!

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Nicolas.
      Well ... we have to wait for them to flourish 🙂.
      I show you photos of the flowers:


      A greeting.

  8.   Analia said

    I want to plant 1 red ash or ficus in 1 green space d 3mt approx; (between 1 plastic pool and the cemented house)… what do I put in the transplant so that the roots don't break anything? Or didn't I plant any trees there?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Analia.
      I do not recommend it. It is a very small space for a tree - of any species.
      However, you can put a bush that is shaped like a tree, such as a Polygala (resistant to -5ºC), or a Cassia.
      A greeting.

  9.   sandra said

    Hello, I have a garden of 3 square meters, it is built around
    . What shrub or plant do you advise me to put?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Sandra.
      Where are you from?

      Small shrubs there are many, but not all are adapted to all climates:
      -Lagerstroemia indica: it needs acid soils and a temperate climate with mild frosts.
      -Callistemon viminalis: does not support strong frosts.
      -Viburnum opalus: grows in temperate zones.
      -Cassia fistula: can not stand the cold.
      -Euryops: support mild frosts.
      -Acer palmatum: acid soil, semi-shade and temperate climates with frosts.

      A greeting.

  10.   Jose Luis said

    hello, this type of plant can be used for the sidewalk?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Jose Luis
      No, the ash tree has very invasive roots. It must be planted at a minimum distance of 10 meters from pipes, soil, etc.
      A greeting.

  11.   Santiago Juana said

    Hello, I can't quite understand which is the species that turns red and which is the one that turns yellow. I would like to have both. Could you clarify this for me? The other question is whether both species can be mixed in the same space.
    From already thank you very much,

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Santiago Juana.
      The Fraxinus americana turns red, and the Fraxinus ornus yellow.

      And yes, of course, they can be mixed without problems, since they belong to the same genus (that is, they share almost all of their DNA).

      A greeting.

  12.   guadalupe said

    Hello, I live in Cordoba in the Punilla Valley next to the river, I have an American ash tree and I am arguing with my sister because she says that it is an invasive species and therefore does not allow native plants to grow. Could you inform me? Thank you so much!

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Guadalupe.

      The American ash is native to eastern North America, from Quebec to northern Florida.

      I have no record of an invasive tree being declared anywhere in the world. What I have seen is that it has been included in the red list of threatened species. You can see it here!.


  13.   Stephanie said

    Hello, I took out a change of Fresno, for transplantation and without wanting to remove it without the root, it can be planted anyway!

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Stephanie.

      You can try it, but keep in mind that it is better to reproduce it by seed.


  14.   Diana said

    Thank you, this post was very useful for my biology homework, God bless you.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Thank you. Greetings.

  15.   Paul Monty said

    Hello Monica
    I have an ash tree planted in a pot
    the problem is that the leaves are not taking on the characteristic dark green color, they grow and stay
    light green, like when they just come out.

    Could you tell me what is it due to?

    From already thank you very much
    Paul Monty
    Cordoba Argentina

  16.   Santiago said

    Hello, I planted a Fresno 6 feet from a concrete pool. Do you recommend that I transplant it? Or do I leave it?
    And then I also put a red ash 6 meters from my house? What do you advise me?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Santiago.

      Ideally, they would have been planted about 10 meters away. But you have the option of pruning them so they don't grow too big. That way they will not need to expand so much.


  17.   Cintia said

    Hello, can the ash be left in a pot? I have a 40 m2 patio and I don't want to have problems with the roots.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Cintia.

      Let's see, because it can be done, it is possible, but it is not ideal. And anyway you have to prune it to keep it as a tree, at the end of winter. You also have to change the pot from time to time, so that it grows.