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Ash Tree Identification

Rahul Pandita Jun 23, 2019
A tree is identified mainly by checking its various characteristics. The ash tree is distinctive with respect to its bark, leaves, buds, etc. This information gives you certain pointers based on which ash tree identification will become easier for you.
Shakespeare, who was reputed to be an avid gardener, thought that ash trees symbolized nature's beauty. Laureate in "The Gardener's Daughter", notes

"The tender Ash delays
To clothe herself when all the woods are green."
Also known as the "Venus of the woods", the ash tree is found in almost all parts of United States. It belongs to the genus Fraxinus in the family of Oleaceae (Olive tree like). Its name 'ash' originated from Latin, which means "spear".
They are well-known for the raw materials they provide and its wood is used to make tools, handles, bows, etc. The Raywood ash tree is a must for every gardener who is aiming to design a beautiful garden. They are ideal for landscaping and gardening. If you find the following traits on a tree, be sure that you have spotted an ash tree.


Young ash trees have a flat-grayish looking bark. By a flat bark, we mean that there are no furrows in its appearance. Older ones have a furrowed bark making it look rough, that has a bluish-gray tint to it.
Many also have fungus, known as lichens, on their barks which gives it a unique blue-green color.


There are different types of leaves and to distinguish one from another, it is required that you examine them carefully. An ash tree usually has a compound leaf, that is, it has more than one leaflet, usually several attached to the same leaf stalk.
The leaflets grow along a common axis making the leaf look like a feather. Ash trees are opposite-bearing, which means that the leaflets and the leaves are opposite to each other. The leaves usually have a minimum of 5 leaflets and a maximum of 11 leaflets.


In winters, when most deciduous trees shed their leaves, identification by buds is quite helpful. Ash tree buds are opposite bearing, which means if you find one bud, exactly opposite to that would be another. They have 'lateral' and 'terminal' buds.
Lateral buds are the ones which are on the each side of the branch if you look at the tree from top to bottom. The terminal bud is present on the tip of every branch. The buds are broad and the length is about quarter of an inch.

Identifying White Ash Tree

Look for the following characteristics:
  • Its average height is about 75 feet.
  • The leaves are generally oval and come in groups of seven or twelve. The average length of the leaves is about 8 to 13 inches.
  • These trees produce light-brown samara.
  • White ash grows in rich, moist, and well-drained soils.

Identifying Mountain Ash Tree

  • The leaf is long and pinnate with each leaflet indented with many small teeth along the edge.
  • Buds are oval-shaped and are purple in color. The bark is silver-gray with dark lenticels on them.
  • The mountain ashes are laden with red berries which contain 2-8 seeds.
These trees are valuable sources of raw materials, medicines etc.; the beauty that they add to any garden is unequivocal. But, in the past decade or so, emerald ash borers have killed millions of ash trees in Michigan, Ohio and other parts of US. We all can help protect the ash trees but for that learning how to correctly identify them is necessary.