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Arizona Ash, Velvet Ash, Modesto Ash, Desert Ash, Leatherleaf Ash, Smooth Ash, Toumey Ash, Fresno As

Fraxinus velutina

Family: Oleaceae (oh-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Fraxinus (FRAK-si-nus) (Info)
Species: velutina (vel-oo-TEE-nuh) (Info)
Synonym:Fraxinus pennsylvanica subsp. velutina



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Pale Green

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring


Grown for foliage



Good Fall Color

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Apache Junction, Arizona

Glendale, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Prescott, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

Tombstone, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Bishop, California

Fresno, California

Las Vegas, Nevada

Pahrump, Nevada

Alamogordo, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Alpine, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

Houston, Texas (2 reports)

Irving, Texas

Katy, Texas

La Porte, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Santa Fe, Texas

Victoria, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 18, 2015, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

I planted one in 1979 that is now big and has been no problems other then in the mid 90's when the Ash Whitefly nearly wiped all the trees out in the bay area. Once the wasp was released,the tree's sighed with relief and re leafed.
They need no watering once they get to a certain size. Some drawbacks as far as mine? Last to leaf out in spring,first to drop leafs in late summer. Mine has no real color to it. And when it does drop leafs its for 2 months or more of that.
I have lately done a heavy pruning up with the tree over several years...removing sideways branches,low big branches. If I didn't,nothing would grow near it.
I wouldn't tell anybody this is a great tree. Big,Drought tolerant and isn't a danger to sewers is its best points.


On May 20, 2014, Themomma from Alamogordo, NM wrote:

I have 4 of these trees. 3 are doing beautifully, 1 not so much. I water 2x a week and 1 gets watered every time I do laundry also. Mine haven't gotten as bis as everyone says but they do provide needed shade here in the hot NM desert. I just don't understand why my 4th puny one isn't doing as well as the other 3. They were all planted the same time and way. I have had problems with the gophers out here on that tree but finally solved that problem. I don't fertilize them as much as some people do. I mainly throw my dogs leavings spread out between all 4. I've also made highly concentrated manure "juice" and watered that in. After 10 yrs my trees are still going strong and the damaging winds we get haven't torn them down. Overall I'm happy but concerened for that one tree.


On Oct 11, 2010, Anna123 from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

I wrote a previous description of a male tree I liked. The ones at the new house are female and WHAT A MESS!! I would not recommend growing this tree from seed or buying an unsexed specimen. Nurseries sell "neutered" varieties which are probably fantastic. The female produces at least a million seeds every year and 25% of them seem to germinate leading to a tree weed problem that is worse than you would think. I was told the nursery sells a product that if sprayed in January right at leaf out can act as tree birth control but the whole tree must be sprayed. I bought a pressure washer and an inline feeder to try to get the spray all the way to the top of the 40 foot tall tree. It is a pain. Whatever the cost for a neutered tree, it is well worth buying one that is neutered. The see... read more


On Oct 25, 2009, uglysteve from Apache Junction, AZ wrote:

I planted 3 of these trees this summer. They did not mind being transplanted in the heat (100+ F), and are growing well.


On Apr 26, 2009, magpie38 from Houston, TX wrote:

The tree occupies a prominent place in my front yard (in Houston), and was already 30 ft tall when I bought the house. Yes, I would rather have a live oak, and I have read all of the negatives. I spend about $300 per year to an arborist for deep feeding and anthracnose prophylaxis, and I have it thinned every other year. I must observe that last year when hurricane Ike shredded my neighbors' live oaks, my lowly ash lost nary a branch.


On Nov 17, 2008, rntx22 from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Good looking, fast growing, big and majestic, good for shade, decent fall color in the south. Was a good tree.... until hurricane Ike came through. Many people in my parents neighborhood had them, yet ours was the only one uprooted. As long as you don't live in a hurricane area, it is a nice tree.


On Nov 1, 2008, Twincol from Fresno, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

It saddens me to place a negative as "experience" here. There is little I can add to Starshinetx's description. My city planted a huge number of the Modesto Ash variety in then-new neighborhoods in the 1940's and 1950's. Many were placed within the 6-foot-wide street side parking strips. The City maintains them, after a fashion, poorly.

One tree was removed in the late 1970's, as the main trunk was split down the center. One photo highlights what appears to be the suggestion of an incipient trunk split facing it. It seems likely that the limb failures in my street tree were the result of pre-existing rot and/or insect damage, as it always occurs at a V-joint, rather than mid-limb, as might be expected of low hanging limbs over the street. This variety, anyway, seems... read more


On Jun 4, 2006, Starshinetx from Santa Fe, TX wrote:

We have 4 of these trees which were planted in the mid 1950's making them 50 years old and 20-30 years past their prime. We are now being forced to remove the trees, at great expense, as they have begun to drop massive limbs and crushed anything below them (like my van and the cyclone fence that surrounds the house. The trees do not age well in my area and are prone to web worm, borers, stinging asps, ants and termites. Once attacked there seems to be no easy cure and once the insects get a good foothold in the tree the tree will rot and since the wood is so brittle to begin with they have a tendancy to drop massive limbs making it necessary to remove the tree...often at great expense. Since the wood is so brittle, it is poorly adapted to this area because of the forces of nature commo... read more


On Jan 16, 2005, Kelli from L.A. (Canoga Park), CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I am not 100% certain, but I think this is the ash that people have planted around here. The trees were probably planted in the 1950s and now they are huge and beautiful. The fall color is nice. I don't have one in my yard so I can't say anything about invasive roots or lack thereof, or any cultural problems, but they don't appear to have any kind of disease or pest problem here.


On Jan 2, 2004, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Tx.
The Arizona ash is a fast growing deciduous tree native to Arizona and parts of Southwestern New Mexico. It is widely planted as a shade tree where summers are long, hot and dry and where soils are alkaline. Foliage turns yellow in autumn. The male and female flowers are on separate trees with the fruit being in the form of seeds that hang in clusters. The fruit will grow on female trees only if it is near a male tree. It can be decimated by borers (under the bark and into the wood layers) in the summer and its roots, when the tree is older, protrude from the ground. It is a very poor choice for Texas landscapes in the long run. After the borers infiltrate the tree, it rapidly declines and must be removed. I would not recommend this tree at least in my area.