(Fraxinus oxycarpa "Raywood")
Raywood ash trees (Fraxinus oxycarpa "Raywood") look like the lollipop trees you drew when you were in first grade. The fine texture of this ash tree's dark, lustrous leaflets contributes to the whimsy of the neat round canopy. As excellent shade trees for a large home garden, raywoods usually stop growing at about 40 feet tall, but can top out at twice that height. Autumn color is a treat, when the deep-green leaves turn a striking wine-red, giving the tree the nickname "Claret Ash." Prune your young tree in late fall to establish a central leader.
Ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) are opposite-leaved hardwoods native to North America, Europe and Asia. These fast-growing trees are grown for timber and firewood because of their dense wood and short time to maturity. They also make excellent ornamental specimens and street trees in sunny areas with moist, well-drained soil. The growing speed of individual ash trees varies somewhat according to species and growing conditions.
Natural Germination Time
Members of the Ash genus produce winged seed pods known as “keys,” which ripen in early to mid autumn. These seeds do not become viable until after they have been soaked and experienced a period of cool to cold temperatures. In nature, most ash seeds take 18 months to germinate if kept wet, but they can remain viable for up to six years if conditions are unfavorable.
You can speed up ash tree seed growth by stratifying the seeds in a refrigerator. This process involves placing the seeds in moist paper towels or sand and leaving them in temperatures of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 to 90 days. After stratification, seeds must be placed in a location where daytime temperatures are around 85 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures are close to 70 degrees. Seeds usually germinate within two months after stratification.
Average Growth Rate
Trees of the Ash species are classified as moderately fast growing due to their ability to grow between 18 and 25 feet in a single decade. Some species, including European ash (Fraxinus excelsior), grow slightly more slowly, reaching a little less than 18 feet in 10 years. Most species average about 2 feet of growth per year for the first part of their life when planted as ornamentals, but they grow more slowly when used in a row with other trees.