This species is native to mesophytic hardwood forests from west Nova Scotia to Minnesota, south to northern Florida, and southwest to eastern Texas. It has also been naturalized in Hawaii.
Origin, history, and uses:
White ash widely used for everyday purposes and, to keep up with high demand, is highly cultivated almost everywhere possible it grows. It is highly perishable, however, so it is mostly used for things such as baseball bats, tool handles, lobster traps, and furniture. They are reportedly the most common street tree in Chicago in 2010. It is sometimes planted in new areas for its consistently reliable autumn colors, as it typically shows bright orange and red hues as opposed to other species of ash that produce a uniform yellow color. The juice from leaves used on mosquito bites for relief of swelling and itching and are a prophylactic measure for snake bites. Additionally, it serves as a food source for tadpoles and frogs in North America when planted near aquatic environments. This plant supports the larvae of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilo glaucus), which have three flights from February-November in the deep south and March-September in the north. The seeds of the White ash are enjoyed by birds, squirrel, and other small mammals. White ash is a larval plant for tiger swallowtail and mourning cloak butterflies. The bark is eaten by rabbits, porcupines and beavers in addition to frogs, and the foliage is browsed by white-tailed deer.
White ash is dioecious, with flowers that appear with or just before the leaves in April and May. A good seed crop is produced about every three years, and the time between the first noticeable enlargement of the male flower buds until shedding is 2 to 3 weeks. Pollen shedding from an individual tree usually takes 3 or 4 days, and the pollen is carried by wind as far as about 328 ft from the point of dispersion. Vegetative buds begin to enlarge in April or May. Height growth is 90 percent complete in 30 days, and 100 percent complete in 60 days. Diameter growth generally continues until August. Young white ash exhibits strong apical dominance. Thrifty open-grown seedlings about 6.6 ft tall often have only two or three pairs of lateral branches, and sometimes none. If the terminal bud is removed, apical dominance is altered and new branches develop from the uppermost pair of lateral buds. Generally, one of these grows faster than the other and soon assumes apical control. Depending on the amount of root competition, a field-grown white ash tree in full sunlight may take from 3 to 15 years to become 1.5 m (5 ft) tall. By then, its root system is usually well established and white ash is able to grow rapidly even if surrounded by weeds.