Fraxinus profunda

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: pumpkin ash 
Type: Tree
Family: Oleaceae
Native Range: Eastern United States
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 60.00 to 80.00 feet
Spread: 30.00 to 50.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Green
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil

Culture

Best grown in consistently moist to wet loams (clay or sandy) in full sun to light shade. No tolerance for dryish soils. This is a large tree that needs a large space.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Fraxinus profunda, commonly called pumpkin ash, is a large deciduous tree with a narrow open crown that matures over time to 60-80’ (less frequently to 125’) tall. Although native in scattered populations from New York to Missouri south to Florida and Louisiana, pumpkin ash is most often found growing in moist to wet locations in swamps, floodplains, wet bottomlands, river valleys and low areas, especially along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers from southern Indiana south to central Arkansas and on the southeastern coastal plain from southern Virginia to the Florida panhandle. In Missouri, it is native to swampy lowland areas in the far southeastern corner of the state (Steyermark). It is often seen growing in the same areas as bald cypress, swamp cottonwood and water tupelo. In its wettest locations, particularly in sites where standing water remains well into the growing season, the trunk of this tree becomes swollen or buttressed (often pumpkin-shaped as the common name suggests) at the base in a manner somewhat reminiscent of bald cypress (see Taxodium distichum). Pumpkin ash features large compound leaves (to 9-18” long), each with 7-9 elliptic to lanceolate leaflets that are yellowish-green to green above and pale-hairy beneath. Leaves turn bronze to purple red in fall. Pumpkin ash is primarily dioecious (separate male and female trees), with ornamentally insignificant greenish male and female flowers appearing in April-May. On female trees, fruits (winged samaras to 3” long) mature in August-October in drooping clusters.

Fraxinus profunda and Fraxinus tomentosa are synonymous.

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. Pumpkin 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 pumpkin ash trees is no longer recommended given the susceptibility of this tree to the emerald ash borer. It has not been commonly planted as an ornamental landscape tree. It grows well in wet soils.