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FRAXINUS nigra

Image of Fraxinus nigra

Family

Oleaceae

Botanical Name

FRAXINUS nigra

Plant Common Name

Black Ash, Brown Ash, Swamp Ash

General Description

Native to swamps and other wet places in eastern and central portions of Canada and the United States, this medium-sized, often short-lived ash is valuable for its hardiness and its tolerance of soggy soil. A straight-trunked, narrow, deciduous tree with upright branches, it has pinnate leaves with 7 to 11 dark green, stemless leaflets. The leaflets have fine-toothed edges and paler undersides. Fall color ranges from rusty brown to yellow. Inconspicuous spring flowers are followed by winged fruit that can pose a litter problem. The black buds contrast with the gray bark, which is smooth when young but becomes rough and scaly on the trunk and older branches.

This ash grows best in acidic to neutral, damp soil in full sun. Use it in sites that are too wet or cold for other ashes. The cultivar 'Fallgold' has bright yellow autumn color.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    7 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 7

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    40'-80' / 12.2m - 24.4m

  • Width

    20'-30' / 6.1m - 9.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Central United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water, Ample Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Green, Purple

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Yellow Green, Brown, Bronze

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Platy

  • Usage

    Shade Trees, Water Gardens

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes