By: Teo Spengler
Homeowners love the claret ash tree (Fraxinus angustifolia subsp. oxycarpa) for its fast growth and its rounded crown of dark, lacy leaves. Before you start growing claret ash trees, be sure your backyard is big enough since these trees can grow 80 feet (26.5 m.) tall with a 30 foot (10 m.) spread. Read on for more claret ash tree information.
Claret Ash Tree Information
Claret ash trees are compact, fast growing, and their deep green leaves have a finer, more delicate look than other ash trees. The trees also offer a terrific autumn display, since the leaves turn maroon or crimson in fall.
Claret ash growing conditions influence the ultimate height of the tree, and cultivated trees rarely exceed 40 feet (13 m.) in height. Generally, the tree’s roots are shallow and do not turn into problems for foundations or sidewalks. However, it is always wise to plant ash trees a good distance from homes or other structures.
Claret Ash Growing Conditions
Growing claret ash trees is easiest in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 7. When it comes to providing good claret ash care, don’t worry too much about the type of soil in your backyard. Claret ash trees accept sandy, loamy or clay soil.
On the other hand, sunlight is critical. Plant claret ash trees in full sun for fastest growth. If you read up on claret ash tree information, you’ll find that the tree will not tolerate frost, high winds, or salt spray. However, this ash is quite drought tolerant once established.
Take care not to weed-whack around your young tree. Ash bark is very thin when the tree is young and it can be easily wounded.
Raywood Claret Ash
When you are growing claret as trees, you should consider ‘Raywood,’ an excellent Australian cultivar (Fraxinus oxycarpa ‘Raywood’). This cultivar is so popular that the claret ash is also called the Raywood ash tree.
‘Raywood’ thrives in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8. It grows to 50 feet (16.5 m.) high with a 30 foot (10 m.) spread. You should use the same cultural practices for ‘Raywood’ that you would use generally for claret ash care, but be a little more generous with irrigation.
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Read more about Ash Trees
13 Species of Ash Trees
Rosemary Calvert / Getty Images
Ash trees are in the Fraxinus genus within the olive (Oleaceae) family of woody plants. They are often used as shade, lawn, and street trees, and were once the most-planted urban tree across the U.S. You can identify ashes by looking for trees with opposite branching (not many trees do this) and compound leaves formed by clusters of leaflets. Ashes also tend to have distinctive bark that varies by species.
Ashes are dioecious trees—which means that individual trees contain either male or female parts, but not both. Male trees can be chosen if you do not want the messiness of the fruit/seeds. The fruits on ash trees are samaras, similar to the winged seeds of maples, and they are usually grouped in clusters on the stem.
Ash Trees Are in Danger
- A devastating pest known as emerald ash borer (EAB) has caused the destruction of hundreds of millions of ash trees in at least 35 states. Although the beetle itself (Agrilus planipennis) causes little damage by feeding on leaves, when its eggs hatch, the larvae enter the tree through crevices in the bark, then feed on inner tissues of the tree. This disrupts the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients, which gradually kills the tree. Many communities in various regions have ongoing programs to remove ash trees to slow the spread of the pest, and they may issue warnings against planting ash trees if the pest is known to be present or is expected to arrive within the next few years. While efforts are underway to develop ash varieties that resist EAB, thus far there are no sure-fire options. Existing trees can be treated with pesticides to protect them.
Here are 13 species of ash trees used as shade, lawn, and street trees.
An Overview of Ash Trees
Ash trees are usually deciduous trees, although some species are evergreen. The appearance of an ash tree can vary, depending on the variety. However, most have oval-shaped, pinnate leaves that are a light-green color with toothed edges and hairs on the lower surface. The leaves of an ash tree appear in spring and are then shed in autumn. Depending on the species, the trees can grow to a height of between 32-feet and 100-feet. The leaves and bark of ash trees are believed to have many health benefits.
Q. Growing Tree from Sucker
We have suckers growing at the base of our Mountain Ash. If we try to root and grow one of the suckers, will it become a tree in the end or only become a branch? What is the best way to root it if you say it is possible?
You can grow a new tree from the suckers. If you dig around the base of the sucker, check to see if it has its own root system. If it does, you can simply dig it out and cut it away from the parent plant. Then place it in a pot and give it plenty of water until you see new growth. Then it can be planted out in the ground. If you do not see that it has its own root system, scrape a little bark away from below the soil line on the sucker and then cover the wound back up with soil. Check back every month or so until you see roots develop and then follow the instructions above.
Best Trees For Autumn Colour
Autumn foliage plants are a great investment around the home. They provide shade in summer, put on a fabulous colour display in autumn, then lose their leaves allowing the warming, winter sun to shine through.
Now is the perfect time to go for a walk or a drive, and look at all the beautiful autumn foliage trees in your area. If you see one you like, you can always take a few leaves along to your local nursery for identification. Autumn is a great time to plant a shrub or tree, because anything planted now will have a chance to send its roots out and establish, rest over winter and then power away in spring.
Here is Don’s list of some of the best trees to plant for autumn colour:
Maple (Acer japonicum)
This small tree from Japan grows slowly to around 5m (15′) tall. The new growth is pale green with fine, white hairs. As the leaves mature they darken in colour, then turn orange-red and crimson in autumn. A. japonicum does best in the cooler areas of Australia (Melbourne, Hobart and the mountains).
Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)
Japanese maples are very fashionable in Australian gardens. They grow well from Sydney to Perth and areas south, in the mountain zones, and Tasmania. There are hundreds of cultivars available, and there is a huge range of leaf shapes and colours, and varying growth forms.
Claret ash (Fraxinus ‘Raywood’)
The claret ash grows to about 20 metres (60′). It has glossy green foliage, which turns claret to deep purple in autumn. They grow well from Sydney to Perth and areas south, in the mountain zones, and Tasmania.
Golden ash (Fraxinus excelsior ‘Aurea’)
The foliage of the golden ash turns a clear yellow in autumn. The tree grows to around the 15 metre (45′) mark, and has yellow branchlets with conspicuous black buds. Both the golden and claret ash grow best in Melbourne, Hobart and the mountains, as well as cool, elevated sites in Adelaide, Sydney and Perth.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
The ginkgo is a large, slow-growing tree to 25m (70′) or more. It has 2-lobed leaves resembling the maidenhair fern, which turn a beautiful buttercup yellow before they fall. Ginkgos grow best in Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, the mountains and cool elevated sites in Perth and Sydney.
Liquidambar (Liquidambar styraciflua)
These large, fast growing deciduous trees can reach 25 metres (75′) high. The autumn foliage is spectacular, with colours ranging from yellow, orange and scarlet to purple. There are new varieties available, including ‘Gumball’, ‘Gold Dust’, ‘Parasol’ and ‘Rotundiloba’. Liquidambars do well from Sydney to Perth and areas south.
Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)
Tupelos grow to around 10 metres tall (30′). They look wonderful in autumn because the tracery of dark stems and branches contrasts beautifully with the yellow, orange, red and crimson foliage. They grow best in Melbourne, Hobart, the mountains, and cool, elevated sites in Adelaide, Perth and Sydney.
Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum)
This is one of the best trees for autumn colour in warmer areas. It grows about 8-10m (25-30′) tall, and has crimson autumn foliage with some yellow, orange and ruby-red leaves.
Cost and availability
The trees mentioned in our segment are available at nurseries and garden centres. Expect to pay $15-$20 for 200mm (8″) pots, $50-$80 for 300mm (12″) pots or 25Ltr bags, and from $100 for 400mm (16″) pots or 45Ltr bags.
The May edition of the Burke’s Backyard Magazine includes an article on the best trees for autumn colour, as well as a free zipout guide to trees, which will help you choose the best tree for your backyard. The magazine is available at newsagents and supermarkets for $4.95.
Propagating Ash Trees Through Sowing
- Propagating an ash tree through sowing is different from planting a sapling. However, it is still a simple process if you use the following tips:
- Fall is the best time to plant your ash tree seed so that it can begin growing before the cold winter months hit.
- Plant the seed in a nursery pot by pushing it just a few inches into the soil, covering with soil and then watering.
- Inserting a small stick next to the seed in the pot can offer the young ash tree some support.
- Wait until the colder winter months are over before transferring your ash tree to your garden.
- Use the same steps as planting a sapling.
The claret ash or Raywood ash is a cultivar of ash tree, a seedling variant of the Caucasian ash (Fraxinus angustifolia subsp. oxycarpa). The original seedling was discovered near a group of assorted ash trees in Sewell's nursery in the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia about 1910, and later grown at the nearby property, "Raywood" (former home of the Downer family). The tree was introduced to Britain in 1928 and to North America in 1956, although it did not become widely available there until 1979.
The tree grows to around 15–20 m (49–66 ft) and has dusty green leaves that turn to a dusty red in the autumn. The bark of the tree is notably smoother than the Caucasian Ash, which is quite apparent on those trees grafted on Caucasian Ash stock. In Australia and the United States the death of some older trees have been observed which has been attributed to a combination of environmental stress and the presence of the fungus Botryosphaeria.