How to identify ashEvery species of tree has defining characteristics: Variations in the size, shape and arrangement of leaves and branches can help identify the species of trees.
By: Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
Every species of tree has defining characteristics: Variations in the size, shape and arrangement of leaves and branches can help identify the species of trees.
According to Michigan State University Extension, ash is similar to some trees but distinct nonetheless.
Branches and bud arrangements on ash trees are directly across from one another and are not staggered. Not every branch will have an opposite mate, however, because some buds or limbs may die.
Ash trees have compound leaves with five to 11 leaflets, again with stems directly across from one another and a single leaflet at the end. The leaf edges can be either smooth or toothed depending on the species of ash.
Boxelder, shagbark hickory and black walnut have similar patterns of compound leaves, but the boxelder only has three to five leaflets, and the seeds of the hickory and black walnut are hard-shelled nuts rather than the oar-shaped samaras of the ash tree that appear in late fall to early winter.
European mountain ash — not a true ash tree — also has leaflets opposite one another, however the branches are alternate or staggered in appearance and the mountain ash bears creamy white flowers in May and fleshy red-orange berries in the fall.
The bark of an ash is relatively smooth in a young tree, but develops diamond-shaped ridges as it matures.
Once it’s determined if a tree is ash, City Forester Mary Morgan said people can determine its health by looking at the canopy and base of the tree. An infested tree will show signs of die back in the upper canopy while smaller branches erupt at the base of the tree. People may also notice a quarter-inch D-shaped hole in the bark of an infested, and Morgan said City Arborist John Krivinchuk also noticed peeling back of the bark in some of the infested trees in the Superior.
Morgan said people may also notice an increase in woodpecker activity in an infested tree.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection other problems can affect ash and mimic some — not all — of the symptoms of emerald ash borer, and treating for the bug could be costly and ineffective.
For more information, go to http://datcpservices.wisconsin.gov/eab/index.jsp or www.emeraldashborer.info.