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.
(Return to EAB home page)
Copyright and Permissions
Copyright 2001, Michigan State University
Permission is hereby granted to reproduce and distribute copies of material and/or photos from Michigan State University Extension (EAB) website for nonprofit educational or library purposes, provided that copies are distributed at or below cost, and that the author, source, and copyright notice is included on each copy, print, or digital image downloaded from this website. Dr. Roberts' retains copyright to these images with request that you please acknowledge use with a "courtesy of Dave Roberts, Michigan State University" clause in your publication or caption source.
This permission is in addition to rights of reproduction granted under Sections 107,108 and other provisions of the U.S. Copyright Act.
David L. Roberts, Ph.D.
Michigan State University Extension Southeast
28115 Meadowbrook Rd., Novi, MI 48377-3128
Michigan State University
B17 Plant & Soil Sciences
East Lansing, MI 48824-1359
For comments or questions email: email@example.com
Helping people improve their lives through an educational process that applies knowledge to critical needs, issues, and opportunities.
| Photo Gallery I-EAB | Photo Gallery II-EAB | Ash Decline Research |
| Stages of Decline | Links | EAB Homepage |
| Site Directory | Search MSU Extension | MSU Home Page |
Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 Michigan State University
Disclaimer, Indicia, and Linking information
Michigan State University is an affirmative action equal opportunity institution.
Modified: April, 2004 Email Web Administrator with any site inquiries.