Ardagh Village Landscapes
Ardagh, Co. Longford, Ireland

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Common Ash

Fraxinus excelsior

This is a vigorous spreading deciduous tree with conspicuous black buds very noticeable in winter. Pinnate dark green leaves up to 12 inches long with 9 to 10 or 13 oval leaflets, turning yellow in autumn. Height is 30 metres with a width of 20 metres. It grows well and abundantly all across the country and is probably the most populous tree of Ireland. It is fast growing and the wood is now valuable and used in furniture making and for the making of hurley sticks. It is also very good as firewood and in the age of peak oil and climate change this tree could well be used as an energy crop where it could be ‘harvested’ at regular intervals for fuel.

It is not a suitable tree for the garden as its roots spread out a long distance from the crown and make it very difficult to cultivate the soil where the roots are growing.

Also its seeds disperse and young seedlings quickly sprout up amongst shrubs and other plants, the seeds are difficult to remove from tarmac and need almost to be picked up individually. While it is late to produce leaves, usually in May, it produces quite attractive yellow flowers in March.

Ash Tree in Summer
Ash Tree in Summer

Ash seeds in June
Ash seeds in June

Ash seeds ready to disperse
Ash seeds ready to disperse

bare Ash Tree in Winter

Ash Tree in Winter

 

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