Green ash is native to central and eastern North America. In nature, it favors moist bottomland and river banks. At Salter Grove, there is a giant female tree at the bottom of the westward sloping lawn area north of the parking lot. The large crop of samaras produced each year represents important food for birds and squirrels.
Not all seeds are consumed by animals as evidenced by the presence of smaller individuals throughout the park in rather different environments. The green ash at the start of the Marsh Trail, and at the junction of the causeway and breakwater look stunted and have leathery leaves because they are exposed to rather harsh conditions. Saplings growing in more protected environments along the Upland Trail, and at the head of the Pond and Audubon Trails have soft green leaves like the parent.
Its straight trunk, and ability to grow in different environments, even harsh ones, made it a very popular street tree for cities in the U.S. and Europe. American elms that were decimated by the Dutch Elm Disease in the 1950's-60's were quickly replaced by green ash. Unfortunately, the wide scale use of green ash cultivars that are susceptible to the Asian emerald ash borer means that history is about to repeat itself. Whereas Asian ashes show resistance to this accidentally introduced beetle, the green ash does not.
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