Fraxinus ornus
Common Name: flowering ash
Type: Tree
Family: Oleaceae
Native Range: Southern Europe, Asia Minor
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 40.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 40.00 to 50.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Attracts: Birds
Tolerate: Deer, Drought

Culture

Best grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained loams in full sun. Moderate drought tolerance. Best sited in locations protected from strong winds. Best performance usually occurs in climates with cool summer temperatures. This tree may not be reliably winter hardy throughout the St. Louis area.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Fraxinus ornus, commonly called flowering ash, produces a spectacular display of fragrant creamy white flowers in May. It is native to southern Europe and western Asia. This is a rounded, deciduous tree that grows to 40-50’ tall with a relatively short trunk featuring smooth, gray bark. Perfect, fragrant, creamy white flowers appear in axillary and terminal panicles (to 5” long) in May. Flowers give way to somewhat unattractive clusters of winged seeds (to 2” long) that ripen in fall and may persist on the tree throughout winter. Odd-pinnate compound leaves (5-8” long) have 5-9 leaflets. Leaflets (2-3” long) are ovate to oblong, toothed and dark green above. Fall color is somewhat undistinguished, ranging from yellow-burgundy to red-purple. Also commonly called manna ash. This tree is commercially grown in Sicily for manna which is a sweet, gummy sap taken from slits made in the bark.

Genus name is the classical Latin name for ash trees.

Problems

Emerald ash borer is native to Asia. It was first discovered in the U. S. (southeastern Michigan) in 2002. It has now spread to a number of additional states in the northeast and upper Midwest, and is expected to continue spreading. Emerald ash borer will typically kill an ash tree within 3-5 years after infestation. Once infestation occurs, it is very difficult to eradicate this pest which feeds under the bark and bores into wood. This borer now constitutes a serious threat to all species of ash in North America. Flowering ash trees are generally susceptible to a number of additional insect problems including ash borer, lilac borer, carpenter worm, oyster shell scale, leaf miners, fall webworms, ash sawflies and ash leaf curl aphid. Potential disease problems include fungal leaf spots, powdery mildew, rust, anthracnose, cankers and ash yellows. General ash decline is also a concern. Brittle branches are susceptible to damage from high winds and snow/ice.

Garden Uses

Planting new flowering ash trees is no longer recommended given the susceptibility of this tree to the emerald ash borer. Ash trees have typically been used over time in a variety of applications including shade tree, street tree or lawn tree.