Fraxinus excelsior (Common Ash)



Currently unavailable due to Chalara fraxinea.

Following the outcome of FERA's Pest Risk Assessment (PRA) for Chalara fraxinea (Ash Dieback) restrictions have been imposed by the government preventing the movement of homegrown and imported plants.

We are, therefore, unable to offer our own UK provenance Fraxinus excelsior plants until restrictions are lifted.

We recommend that existing and prospective customers continue with their planting schemes using alternative, substitute species, such as Oak, Green Beech, Hornbeam, Lime, Silver Birch, Alder, Aspen and Downy Birch.

Should you have any concerns as to the suitability of other species, or you wish for us to allay any concerns that you have, please do not hesitate to contact us.

One of the largest of our native trees, Ash is an imposing tree in woodlands all over the country. It is valued for its timber which is strong and hard-wearing and has a wide range of uses. It has highly decorative large leaves divided into 9 – 11 lance-shaped leaflets and in winter the distinctive black leaf buds held on smooth grey twigs are a notable feature. It is prone to rabbit damage when young, so it is advisable to use tree guards. Ash has long been a focus for legend, superstition and magic.

Site and soil

Ash prefers a deep, moist, cool soil. It tolerates pollution and exposed sites well, and is often planted in coastal areas.

Height and spread

After 10 years: 8m x 5m
After 20 years: 11m x 8m

Leaf and bark

The pinnate leaves are 30cm long with 9 – 11 leaflets arranged in pairs with a single one at the tip. They turn pale yellow before falling in autumn. The bark on young trees is smooth and grey, but with age it becomes deeply fissured.

Flower, seed and fruit

The small purple and green flowers are borne in clusters in April before the leaves open. The male and female flowers can be borne in the same cluster, in different clusters, or on different trees. The seed hangs in large clusters, or keys, on the tree throughout the winter before being distributed by the wind.


Woodland, specimen tree, avenues, coppicing. The pale coloured timber is valued for a variety of uses including furniture, tool handles, house interiors, sports equipment, gates and walking sticks. Ash also makes excellent firewood. During WWII, Ash was used to make the wings of the De Havilland Mosquito. In the past, the leaves, bark and seeds were used medicinally.


Ash has a light, airy canopy, and the leaves are held on the tree for a shorter period than other native species; this allows woodland floor plant and animal species to thrive. Ash is a pioneer species in the change from grass or scrubland to woodland. The seeds are an important food source for birds in winter.


Coppiced trees should be cut back in winter.