Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)

Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is a British and European native species requiring a fairly mild climate and moist, but well drained, alkaline soils of moderate to high fertility.

  • Ash Tree  -  Fraxinus Excelsior  -  Mature Ash Tree
  • Ash Tree  -  Fraxinus Excelsior  -  Leaves

Useful info about Ash trees

Latin NameFraxinus excelsior
TypeDeciduous (loses its leaves in winter)
HeightCan grow up to 20 metres (70 feet)
SpreadThe branches can spread out to 10 - 15 metres (30 - 50 feet)
Soil Types PreferredChalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Locations SuitableFarmland, Gardens, Parks
FlowersFebruary, March
Celtic Tree MonthFebruary 18 - March 17


It is in leaf from May to October, in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from September to January. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Wind.

Very tolerant of extreme exposure and relatively fast growing, though often windshaped in exposed positions, it can be grown as a shelterbelt tree.

However, it is late coming into leaf and also one of the first trees to lose its leaves in the autumn and this makes it less suitable in a shelter belt. Prefers a deep loamy soil, even if it is on the heavy side. Most members of this genus are gross feeders and require a rich soil. Plants can succeed in very exposed positions, including maritime exposure, though they can become wind-shaped. Thrives in alkaline soils but not in shallow soils over chalk.

Tolerates a pH as low as 4.5, but prefers a base-rich soil above 5.5. Ash trees are surprisingly tolerant of seasonally water-logged soils. They dislike dryness at the roots, especially in late spring. It's very intolerant of shade - young plants fail to develop properly in such a position and often die. Although the dormant plant is very cold-hardy, the young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun.

A fast growing tree, it is very tolerant of cutting, and in the past has frequently been coppiced for its wood. However, modern use of plastics have reduced its economic values. Trees have a light canopy and cast little shade. A food plant for many insect species, there are 41 associated insect species. Trees can be male, female, monoecious or hermaphrodite, they can also change sex from year to year. Ash trees take 30 - 40 years to flower from seed. The flowers are produced on one-year old wood. This species is notably resistant to honey fungus.
The plant is not self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soil.

It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist or wet soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure and atmospheric pollution.

Ash is light demanding, so plantations require frequent thinning out to maintain high productivity and even rates of timber growth. Early stem pruning is also essential if clear blemish free wood is required.


Ash is a strong wood often used for furniture making.


Any uses for trees or tree extracts, whether edible or medicinal, have not been tried or tested by EFORESTS.

Please take caution and seek proper advice before attempting any recipes or medicinal extracts from any of the trees listed on our site.

Culture and Symbolism

The Ash tree can symbolise power / strength and longevity.

Celtic tree month: February 18 - March 17

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