Content Detail

Pumpkin ash is very susceptible to the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) and is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region. It usually requires removal or regular insecticide treatments. Pumpkin ash is a native woodland tree found throughout the Midwest. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

To find suitable replacements for this tree, go to The Morton Arboretum’s tree and plant finder. Before purchasing or planting, be sure to check for any local or state guidelines, and ensure that this plant is suitable for its habitat by reviewing planting considerations or by finding it in the USDA Plants Database. Learn more at the Emerald Ash Borer Information Network’s website.

  • Family (English) Olive
  • Family (botanic) Oleaceae
  • Tree or plant type Tree
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large tree (more than 40 feet)
  • Mature height 65-85 feet
  • Mature width 30-50 feet
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Wet soil
  • Tolerances clay soil, Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Inconspicuous
  • Shape or form Narrow, Oval
  • Growth rate Fast
  • Planting considerations Weak wood and branch structure
  • Wildlife Browsers, Insect pollinators, Migrant birds, Small mammals
  • Has cultivars No

More Information

Size and Method of Spreading

Pumpkin ash is a large tree that grows 65 to 85 feet tall and 30 to 50 feet wide.

Native Geographic Location and Habitat

C-Value: 10. Commonly found in wet, lowland sites, pumpkin ash is native to coastal plains from Virginia south into northern Florida and in the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys.

Bark Color and Texture

The bark is light gray and ridged and furrowed into a diamond pattern.

Leaf Description

Compound leaves are in pairs (opposite), with seven to nine leaflets on each leaf. Leaves are dark green in summer, changing to bronze or burgundy in fall.

Flower Description

It is dioecious with male and female flowers on separate trees. Flowers appear in spring and are not ornamentally important.

Fruit Description

Fruit are winged seeds borne in clusters.

Care Knowledge

Plant Care

This tree is tolerant of wet sites.

Pests, Diseases, and Tolerances

Susceptibility to the emerald ash borer makes this tree unsuitable for the landscape.


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