White ash is a good tree for open areas such as parks and campuses; it also is used as a lawn, shade, and street tree, even though its potential large size can make it incongruous with a small area. It is an erect, graceful tree, often with bronze-purple fall foliage. It is easy to transplant and numerous cultivars have been developed, including seedless (male) forms. Other selections are based on yellow to orange and purple fall colors, persistence of leaves in the fall, height, crown shape (broadly to narrowly oval) and density, growth vigor, and cold hardiness. White ash also has been used in re-vegetating disturbed sites.
The wood of white ash is valued for its strength, hardness, heavy weight, and elasticity (shock resistance). Native Americans appreciated its usefulness for tools and implements, and it is used extensively today for tool handles. Its use in wooden baseball bats is famous. The wood is also used in furniture, doors, veneer, antique vehicle parts, railroad cars and ties, canoe paddles, snowshoes, boats, posts, ties, and fuel. White ash is the most valuable timber tree of the various ashes.
White ash was used by Native Americans for a variety of medicinal purposes: a decoction of the leaves as a laxative and general tonic for women after childbirth; the seeds as an aphrodisiac, a diuretic, an appetite stimulant, a styptic, an emetic, and as a cure for fevers; and a bark tea for an itching scalp, lice, snakebite, and other sores. Juice from the leaves has been applied to mosquito bites for relief of swelling and itching.
White-tailed deer and cattle browse white ash and beaver, porcupine, and rabbits may eat the bark of young trees. The seeds are eaten by wood duck, northern bobwhite, turkey, grouse, finches, grosbeaks, cardinals, fox squirrel, mice, and many other birds and small mammals. The tendency of white ash to form trunk cavities makes it valuable for cavity nesters such as redheaded, red-bellied, and pileated woodpeckers. Once primary nest excavators have opened up the bole, it is an excellent habitat for secondary nesters such as wood ducks, owls, nuthatches, and gray squirrels.
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