Fraxinus excelsior


One of the most commonest trees in Britain. Readily distinguished by its light-grey bark (smooth in younger trees, rough and scaly in older specimens). Bunches of 'keys' hang from the twigs in great clusters, at first green and then brown as the seeds ripen that remain attached to the tree until the succeeding spring. Ash and Privet are the only representatives in England of the Olive tribe: Oleaceae.





  • Culture
  • Concerns
  • Management
Culture for Common Ash

Grows optimally on calcareous soils although will grow on all except poorest and acid soils (below pH 5.5). Prefers moist but well drained fertile soils. Found growing up to 450m in altitude preferring full or partial sun. Moderately drought tolerant, this tree will require some summer irrigation in very dry climates, but well established mature trees usually do not need supplemental irrigation.

Concerns about Common Ash

Highly susceptible to Chalara ash dieback (lethal). Prolific seed producer and can populate an area with seedlings very quickly. Issues with subsidence of buildings and ash roots frequently recorded. Can be infested with aphids, leading to leaf stippling, honeydew, and sooty mold.

Management Practices for Common Ash

Sample soils for nutrient and pH levels especially if deficiency symptoms were evident during the growing season. If plants exhibit decline, sample roots or root collar for Phytophthora root rot. Check for Chalara ash dieback on foliage and/or presence of diamond shaped cankers on trunk. Treat foliage preventatively for anthracnose, caterpillars, scale and mites on trees with history of disease or if conducive weather conditions are present.

Photos related to Common Ash



Typical black buds, grey bark and keys (seed)

Typical domed canopy growth habit

Elliptical diamond-shaped canker of ash dieback

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