The Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is a large, fairly quick growing tree that is found in England. This tree's roots can grow through rock, and can grow on limestone pavements

The leaves usually open in May, later than many British trees. The flowers open before the leaves. Ash has male and female flowers separate, but the tree can be male one year, female another year, and both the next year. The seeds ripen in the autumn, and a large percentage of them germinate, similar to the way Sycamore does, though Ash seedlings are slightly less frequent. After the first year of life, an Ash sapling can grow incredibly quickly, depending on the ground it is growing on.

It is named Ash due to the fact that you do not need to cure the wood for it to burn. Usually you have to dry wood for long periods of time for it become good quality firewood, but ash is just as good fresh as some slow dried timber. Ash trees are commonly used for coppicing. The wood can be used to make tool handles, as it is resistant to shocks and strains that tools such as hammers and axes receive. It can also be used for gate hurdles and it does make the best firewood.

In 2012, concern was raised over the spread of ash dieback disease, chalare fraxinea, which is a problem in Europe and has killed 90% of ash trees in Denmark. The disease was first found in February at a nursery and some recently planted sites, and has been found in the wider countryside in East Anglia, as well as at sites in Scotland. On the 29th of October, a ban on imports of ash trees came into effect in an attempt to reduce the spread of the disease. 100,000 trees in the wild have also been destroyed to combat the disease as of the 30th of October. The disease is the most serious threat to the British landscape since Dutch elm disease in the 1970s. The issue has raised criticism that the government did not act quickly enough. Whether ash dieback spreads further, and how much damage it will do to the British countryside, remains to be seen.

Ash Keys

Ash keys in early summer - WWC Archives

Ash flowers

Ash flowers

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