How to Identify an Ash Tree

How to Identify an Ash Tree

Due to the recent discovery of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in Nebraska, it’s important to be able to recognize and identify if you have ash trees.

Here is a simple guide for ash tree identification:

Ash tree branch

Opposing Branches

Branches, buds, and leaves grow directly across from each other and not staggered, with a single bud at the end of the branch (terminal bud).

Remember it’s common for branches and buds to die off, so not every single branch will have an opposite mate.

Ash tree leaf

Compound Leaves

Leaves are compound (more than one blade is attached to a single stalk) and composed of 5-11 leaflets. Leaves may be finely toothed or have smooth edges. The only other oppositely branched tree with compound leaves is boxelder, which almost always has only 3-5 leaflets.

Ash tree bark

Diamond-Pattern Bark

Although the bark on young ash trees is relatively smooth, in mature ash trees the bark is tight with a distinct diamond-shaped pattern or ridges.

Ash tree seeds

Paddle-Shaped Seeds

Not all ash trees produce seeds, but when present seeds are paddle-shaped. They usually occur in clusters and typically hang on the tree until late fall, early winter.

Nebraska Forest Service