A Nice Blue Ash - SW Ohio

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Matt Markworth
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A Nice Blue Ash - SW Ohio

Post by Matt Markworth » Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:29 pm


I first noticed this blue ash a few years ago and I walk by it occasionally on a trail by the Little Miami River. The tree is on the slope above the river. Today I went over and took some measurements.

Blue ash are uncommon here, and this is by far the biggest one that I've seen in Ohio. I've measured a lot of blue ash down in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky, and this tree isn't far behind the biggest ones down there.

I took circumference at 3' above midslope, because of a bulge from a dead branch above that point. I took the measurement twice, each time starting from the midslope on each side of the tree and came to the same result: 14.95' circumference at 3' above midslope. Height was 84'.

The tree diverges into two main limbs at 24' above midslope. I've noticed that trees that take this form tend to have a larger CBH than would be expected. There is some evidence that the two limbs have merged together. With a tree this old, it's difficult to say how far down the merger took place.

In a perimeter of approximately 100', I found these tree species present. They are listed approximately in the order of most abundant to least abundant:

sugar maple
Ohio buckeye
chinkapin oak
bitternut hickory
blue ash
American sycamore
common hackberry
northern red oak
slippery elm
white ash (dead)
black maple
black walnut

This first photo was from 10/30/16. The rest of them are from today.
blue ash 1.JPG
blue ash 2.JPG
blue ash 3.JPG
blue ash 4.jpg

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Larry Tucei
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Re: A Nice Blue Ash - SW Ohio

Post by Larry Tucei » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:42 pm

Matt- Super sized Ash- I've never seen a Blue Ash that I can remember. Larry

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: A Nice Blue Ash - SW Ohio

Post by Erik Danielsen » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:05 pm

That's an old-looking ash. Are the rest of the trees comparatively younger? It sounds like a relatively intact ecology in terms of the species mix.

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Matt Markworth
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Re: A Nice Blue Ash - SW Ohio

Post by Matt Markworth » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:51 pm


I agree, I think it's pretty old. That gnarly branch at about 6' above midslope is extremely unusual. The crown is fairly complex and the bark has that shaggy look.

The trees around it are all younger, although there are a few old white oaks at the top of the slope and farther into the woodland on top. There's a lot of evidence of old structures throughout the woodland. It's possible the slope was selectively cut over time preserving the diversity. There's also a recovering field that has species typical for that situation including hackberry, honeylocust, silver maple, invasive catalpa, etc.

The tree is located in what used to be the Ahimaaz King property, and is located approximately a quarter of a mile from the King mansion. King had the mansion built in 1885 using clay from the nearby Little Miami River. He had quite a little empire making gunpowder and the town of Kings Mills was built and housed most of the employees.


I don't see them too often in Ohio, although I've seen quite a few on the slope above the Ohio River facing south. They're also scattered around the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky. They're also in the Nashville Basin, although based on what I saw down there, they're not nearly as common there as they are in the Bluegrass.

I included the range map below. One reason I have gravitated towards the species is because it's mostly limited to where I'm from, the Midwest. The ranges of shingle oak and shellbark hickory (laciniosa) are similar, but those are uncommon as well in the places I've been.

They're pretty distinct from other ashes. The older trees get shaggy bark, with the bottom part of the shaggy ridge appearing to slighty separate from the bark underneath it. The old open-grown blue ashes down in the Bluegrass tend to get a smoother appearance, and have more of a whitish appearance. In some cases they have been rubbed by horses, which emphasizes the smoothness and whiteness. The leaflets are also more elongated than white ash and green ash. The photo below is a leaf I picked up below the tree and held up against the trunk. You'll notice the first two leaflets of the leaf have fallen off.
blue ash range.PNG
blue ash range.PNG (48.4 KiB) Viewed 731 times

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