Ash Tree Leaves
The image above shows the ash tree leaf pattern. White ash trees are usually found in forests or woodlands. They grow in temperate regions.
The color of their leaves varies from light yellowish brown to dark grayish black. Their shape is elliptical, oval, round, oblong or heart shaped depending on which species they belong to. The leaves have four leaflets per side. Each leaflet is 2 to 3 millimeters long and 1 to 1.5 millimeters wide.
White ash trees may reach heights of 10 meters (33 feet) or more and weigh up to 50 kilograms (110 pounds). The leaves are used as food, fuel, medicine, building materials and other purposes. They make good firewood because they burn hot enough to melt snow but cool down quickly when exposed to air.
The leaves are also used as a source of charcoal.
White ash trees are often associated with death, mourning and funerals. Because of these associations, white ash trees are sometimes called “black trees”. The word “death” comes from the Latin word deus meaning god.
Death is a common theme in all cultures around the world.
Ash Tree Disease
In the image above you can see a white ash tree with cankers on its trunk. Cankers are a common sign of ash tree disease. This disease is caused by a fungus known as “Chalara fraxinea”.
The disease was accidentally spread to America from Eurasia during the mid-1800s. It was first spotted in North America in 1933. Since then it has killed millions of trees in this continent alone. Fortunately, it has not spread to other continents yet.
Ash trees are easy targets for this disease because they have no natural resistance to it. Unlike some other tree species, they do not contain the toxins or other defences to keep the fungus from spreading throughout their systems. The disease starts with water-soaked spots on the underside of the leaves.
These spots can later grow into lesions that may be up to 10 centimeters across (4 inches).
The fungus enters the trees through these spots and grows inside them. It eventually clogs up the transport vessels that carry nutrients to the rest of the tree. This causes them to slowly waste away and die.
The disease is worse in wet weather because it causes more leaf spots. Once a tree is infected, there is no known cure. It must be chopped down before it dies completely. A dead ash tree provides a wealth of habitats for many types of insects and animals.
Ash Tree Identify
In the image above you can see a ash tree. This type of ash tree is often used in landscaping projects. It has been specifically bred so that it has few or no thorns.
Its height is 40 feet (12 meters) with a trunk diameter of 1 to 2 feet (30-60 centimeters). The height may vary but the diameter will not. Many people mistake it for the Olive Tree but its reverse divide structure is unique to the White Ash. The leaves are more rounded than the Olive tree. They also have a light green center and a grey-green border. They are not evergreen so they start to fall off in autumn (Fall).
Ash trees are typically found in North America, Eastern and Central Europe and some parts of Asia. They grow best in wet soils and like a lot of sunlight. The wood is heavy and hard so it is often used in tool handles.
It can also be used to make furniture, flooring, paddles, baseball bats and other sports equipment.
The ashes taste good when eaten fresh and can be used to make tea. The inner bark can be dried, ground up and used as a substitute for flour. A chemical called salicylate that is also found in willow bark can be extracted from ash trees.
It is the same chemical that is in Aspirin. Incidentally, it is best not to do this if you are allergic to Aspirin because you could have a serious reaction.
Ash trees provide homes for many insects, birds and mammals. Large North American Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) like the Giant Swallowtail and Viceroy butterflies lay their eggs on ash trees.
Many birds, like the Blue Jay, Chickadee and Nuthatch like to eat the seeds. Mammals like the Deer, Black Bear and Raccoon enjoy eating the leaves, berries and twigs.
Ash trees have been around since the Carboniferous period. Some say that they are poorly adapted to modern environments because their thin shells make them susceptible to disease and natural disasters like hurricanes. If you want to plant an ash tree in your yard, be sure to plant it a good distance away from your house!
That’s all folks!
Tune in next time!