5. WHITE ASH, Fraxinus americana
CT Notable Tree

White Ash at entrance to Westmoor Park

This stately White Ash has guarded the entrance of Westmoor Park since its inception in 1974, but the tree is much older. White ash is the most valuable (lumber wise) of all the ash trees - and famous for baseball bats.  This is the first of 11 CT Notable Trees in the Arboretum.


White Ash trunk and bark. Fraxinus americana.

This tree is one of the oldest in the Arboretum, app. 130 years old.  The age of historic trees is figured by estimation.  You measure the tree at 4.5 ft. above the ground (Diameter at Breast Height, DBH).  Then multiply the DBH by a species growth factor, and figure in site variations.  The bark of the tree is distinctive and regularly furrowed.


Early spring emerging flowers of Juglans nigra at the Westmoor Arboretum.

Ash trees are dioecious (M/F flowers on different trees).  The male flowers on this tree begin as clumps on the branches before any leaves appear.  Seen close-up, the pollinating flowers are brightly colored.


Male Flowers and Leaflet of White Ash.

Once the Ash tree leaves have emerged, the male flowers shrivel and drop. Ash trees have a compound leaf with 5-9 leaflets (usually 7) on each stem/branch (called a rachis). The leaflets and stem together are considered the tree's "leaf".


Fall foliage can be very striking, ranging from yellow (inset) to the reddish hue of late fall.  As this tree is male, it does not produce a winged fruit in the fall.


Winter shape of White Ash tree.

Winter shows us the Ash tree's opposing buds, and also see how the tree uses its very significant trunk (bole) to anchor its soaring branches.  This tree is currently being treated for a condition caused by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) invasive beetle.