Celebrating a Lost Champion White Ash Tree (Fraxinus americana)
This month we celebrate a lost champion, the white ash tree of Sparkill New York. Despite vigilant care by Sparkill citizens, the 350-year-old tree died in 2015. But its legacy lives on in the history of the town and belief that George Washington collected seeds from this tree for planting at his home in Mt Vernon.
White ash is a large native tree long valued for its beauty and timber. The leaves are some of the last to emerge in spring and turn a striking yellow-purple in the fall. The wood has been used for a variety of products including tool handles, oars, garden furniture and sports equipment including the Louisville slugger baseball bats.
Unfortunately, the Emerald Ash Borer is killing many ash trees. So for now, the focus is on protecting the existing ash trees in landscapes and natural spaces, not on planting new ones.
A bit more information: Diversity is the key to creating a long-lasting landscape and urban forest. Consider non-ash options when adding new trees to the landscape. Make sure they are suited to your climate and growing conditions.