Ash seedlings grow rapidly when well-fed. It is important, especially for those trees growing in pots, that they are fed regularly throughout the growing season. Ash does not like acid soils, so they will also benefit from a top dressing of garden lime.
Ash ‘keys’ ripen during September and October, during which time they turn from green to brown as they dry. The most reliable seeds are those that have been picked brown. Green ash keys will grow, but can prove unreliable.
Bunches of keys can be removed from branches in October, or even throughout the winter, before they are dispersed by the wind. Simply pull them gently from the tree with your fingers.
If your plants don’t reach 40cm in height in the first year, transplant them with more space. You can help them to develop a good, fibrous root system (important for final planting) by root-pruning.
The pot needs to remain outside for eighteen months. This is where patience is required! Water the pots if they show signs of drying out and protect from birds and mice if they discover your seeds. We will be sowing the seeds the second spring following collection. Freshly collected ash seed does not contain a fully- developed embryo (young plant). It needs a full summer (warm temperatures) for the embryo to grow to its full size and be ready to germinate.
If you have picked green keys (or even those that have begun to turn brown) take care to store them in ‘breathable’ bags. They still have a high moisture content, which can cause the seeds to heat up if they don’t have adequate ventilation.
Sow three seeds per pot or aim for about 400 seeds in one square metre of a seedbed. Cover the seed with 5-10mm of coarse horticultural grit. Firm the seeds.
Scientific Family: Oleaceae
Ash keys should be separated into individual seeds. This ‘de-bunching’ process is done by hand. If you want to store your seeds for any length of time, they should be dried further in a warm place.
Ash is easy enough to grow from seed, but you need patience! It can take 18 months to germinate after collection. This guide shows you how to do it.
Landscape use: Shade, Lawn, Streets, Parks, Campuses
Soil Type: Prefers deep, moist, well-drained soils.
Other Names: American Ash
Germination Range: 60-80%
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