The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

American White ash

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The highest and most characteristic beauty of the American White ash (and we consider it the finest of all the species) is the coloring which its leaves put on in autumn. Gilpin complains that the leaf of the European ash "decays in a dark, muddy, unpleasing tint." Not so the White ash. In an American wood, such as often lines and overhangs the banks of the Hudson, the Connecticut, and many of our noble northern streams, the ash assumes peculiar beauty in autumn, when it can often be distinguished from the surrounding trees for four or five miles, by the peculiar and beautiful deep brownish purple of its fine mass of foliage. This color, though not lively, is so full and rich as to produce the most pleasing harmony with the bright yellows and reds of the other deciduous trees, and the deep green of the pines and cedars. The ash, unlike the elm, starts into vegetation late in the spring, which is an objection to planting it in the immediate vicinity of the house. In winter the long greyish white or ash-colored branches are pleasing in tint, compared with those of other deciduous trees.