Ash - Fraxinus excelsior

Ash - Fraxinus excelsior

The Frassinus excelsior

Frassinus excelsior is one of the most common species among the ash trees. It belongs to the Olaceae family and we find its presence throughout Europe. In our country, the excelsior is also present in the Alps, reaching altitudes even greater than 1500 meters. Ash trees are large trees, making them particularly suitable for parks or large properties. Their hair has a light shape, decidedly slender in a columnar and oval way. The bark, on the other hand, has a greenish-green color, equipped with lenticels for younger trees. On the other hand, in adult specimens it has more wrinkled bark and has a color tending to gray. The ash tree grows very quickly and has roots with the characteristic of developing and extending far from the trunk, under the surface of the ground. It is therefore advisable not to plant the tree near buildings or underground cables. Its use, especially in parks, tree-lined avenues or in single specimens for gardens, finds appreciation in particular for its very decorative foliage, which grants abundant shade especially in the summer season. The color that the leaves tend to take during the autumn season is also appreciated. In the woods, it very rarely forms groups in purity, that is, made up of trees of the same species, but it is almost always associated with beech, maple, hornbeam and other conifers. Finally, it has high quality wood used for furniture but also for tools such as hammers or shovels. Note of curiosity, it was once particularly used for sports equipment, such as oars or hockey sticks, due to its strength and resistance that allow it to withstand blows without chipping.

Leaves, flowers, fruits

Particularly loved, it has been said, for its leaf patrimony which gives the tree a very warm and suggestive color, especially in autumn, the frassinus excelsior has more precisely pinnate leaves, formed from 7 to 11 leaflets, dark green, paired ee a terminal, which are closed by black wintering buds. The flowers have a color between yellow and green and are gathered in panicles. Finally, the fruits are pendulous samaras.

  • The ash tree

    There is no doubt that irrigation plays a key role in the development of the ash tree. In particular, trees grown in a container require more frequent watering than those cultivated ...


The ash requires sowing in October, inside pots enriched with special compost, rich in peat and sand. You have to wait patiently, in some cases up to 18 months, for the seeds to sprout. Then the seedlings must be transplanted into the nursery to be cultivated for a time ranging from three to four years, to then be permanently placed in the home. Here it is advisable to take an abundant clod in order to avoid damage to the roots, as mentioned, always very extensive. Then a hole is dug and the soil is added, limiting the fertilization operation to avoid too rapid growth, accompanied however by limited lignification of the tissues and the presence of long internodes.

Given the large size of many species of ash, one of the most used for its cultivation in the garden, by virtue of its need for smaller spaces, is undoubtedly the fraxinus mariesii. This tree, originally from China, reaches heights that do not exceed eight meters. It is aesthetically appreciated for its pinnate leaves and flowers with a color tending to creamy white, collected in large open inflorescences, very visible at the beginning of the summer season. Subsequently, equally suggestive purple fruits appear.


The ash tree loves a sunny position, but its growth occurs easily even in slightly shaded areas. It resists rigid temperatures, even those of mountain winters, but does not like excessive heat in lowland environments.


Its preference goes to fresh, airy and salt-rich soils, which have good depth and fertility, as well as good drainage. The ideal terrain for the ash however, it is clayey. It easily adapts to even the most pebbly and mountainous soils.


The ash does not require special pruning. However, an important commitment is to be dedicated to the elimination of the suckers which often develop with considerable force upwards, inserting themselves into the weft of the branches until they merge in some cases with the trunk. It is therefore advisable to eliminate young stems that show such intense polloniferous activity from the first year of life.


A frequent danger for the ash it is represented by the polyporus, a mushroom called “shelf” that penetrates the bark bringing the wood to a state of rot. Attention also to the little family, which leading to rot the root system could cause the sudden death of the tree.

Ash: Other species

Among the other most widespread species of the ash we find the fraxinus americana, with heights reaching up to 36 meters, indicated to be planted as an isolated specimen in the meadows, and much appreciated for the color, between green and gold, which its leaves take on in autumn. The fraxinus latifolia, up to twenty meters high, has pinnate and fluffy leaves. The fraxinus ornus, or Orniello, which has more limited heights, 18 meters, and suggestive cream-white flowers, collected in panicles and very fragrant.Finally the fraxinus pennsylvanica, with leaves also in this case pinnate, composed of 5-9 small leaves fluffy.

Video: Weeping Ash Fraxinus excelsior Pendula - branches - March 2018