David L. Roberts,
ASH TREE BRANCHES 7/2003
Ash trees (Fraxinus species) are easily identified if several simple factors are understood. Ash is unique from other trees because of the following distinctive characteristics: opposite branching and compound leaf according to the following descriptions of pictures. Remember, mountain ash (Sorbus) is not a true ash (Fraxinus), and is not affected by the Emerald Ash Borer.
Opposite Branching - MAD Horse:
Very few trees in our landscapes and forests have opposite branching. The predominant types are Maple, Ash, Dogwood and Horsechestnut. A simple phrase to remember when identifying trees with opposite branching is to use the acronym *MAD Horse* representing Maple, Ash, Dogwood & Horsechestnut. When looking for opposite branching in trees, please consider that buds or limbs may die; hence not every single branch will have an opposite mate.
Red dots mark opposing branches Underneath side of another branch Another example of opposing branches A fall skeleton of an ash branch.
A simple leaf is a single leaf defined by having a bud at the base of the leaf stem (also known as a petiole).
A compound leaf is one that has more than one leaflet while the entire leaf, as defined, has a bud at its stem base (petiole). Ash typically have approximately 5-9 leaflets per leaf.
Very young ash leaf with adult EAB. Ash One leaf, 9 leaflets Green Ash One leaf, 7 leaflets Ash One leaf, 9 leaflets Black Ash One leaf, 7 leaflets White Ash top/bottom One leaf, 7 leaflets
Box Elder - Branches with 3 leaves shown; each having 3 leaflets. Same as Maple leaves.
Following are leaves of Maple, Ash, and Dogwood, which have opposite branching (MAD Horse)
Maple - one leaf Ash - one leaf with 9 leaflets Dogwood - 6 leaves on branch
A close-up of a healthy ash branch with seeds!
|The bark on a younger ash tree is relatively smooth.||Green ash - As the tree ages the bark thickens and a diamond-like pattern in the raised bark is noticeable.||This ridged trunk section is from a very mature ash tree.|
Following are leaves from trees that may look like ash
have alternate branching:
|Hickory - One leaf with 5 leaflets||Hophornbeam -Many leaves on branch||Walnut - One leaf with many leaflets|
OTHER WEB RESOURCES:
Jackson Extension site has more on Ash Tree ID information
MSU Hort. Suggested Trees for Lower Michigan
Alternative Selections for Problems in Tree Species .pdf
Fraxinus - Ash Ohio State University Bulletin - Great details here
White Ash Identification
Green Ash Identification
Ash Trees Leaves/Bark/Twigs - Iowa State University Ext.
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David L. Roberts, Ph.D.
Michigan State University Extension Southeast
28115 Meadowbrook Rd., Novi, MI 48377-3128
Michigan State University
B17 Plant & Soil Sciences
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