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Content Detail

Due to susceptibility to emerald ash borer (EAB), pumpkin ash is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually requires removal and/or replacement. Pumpkin ash is a large tree found primarily growing in wet habitats. This United States native can reach 80 feet tall with a narrow crown. 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.  

  • 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

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 or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

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 arrangement, shape, and size:

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

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Fruit are winged seeds borne in clusters.

Plant care:

This tree is tolerant of wet sites.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

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

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