Common or European Ash/ Fraxinus excelsior Bonsai

Bonsai Species Guides

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Fraxinus excelsior, the Common Ash, is a vigorous, spreading, deciduous tree native to much of Europe where it commonly grows to over 100ft/ 30metres. Readily identifiable in winter by its black leaf-buds, the Common Ash carries opposite, pinnate leaves to 35cm long, these are composed of 9-15 narrowly elliptical, finely-toothed leaflets 4-10cm long. The leaves of the Common Ash open late in Spring and fall whilst still green in Autumn. Though each leaflet is small for bonsai use, the size of the overall 'leaf' (comprising of many smaller leaflets) requires that Ash bonsai must be quite large to be effective.


POSITION Full sun, fully hardy to -10°C but Spring growth can be damaged by late Frosts.

FEEDING Every two weeks throughout the growing season, feed less to help reduce leaf size.

REPOTTING Every two to three years in Spring as buds extend.

PRUNING Trim shoots back hard continually throughout the growing season to encourage compact growth and to keep in shape. Pruning hard during the Summer also causes the tree to start to produce branches. Hard prune in late Winter.

PROPAGATION Stratify seed over winter or in a refrigerator for 2-3 months before sowing outside. Air-layering in late Spring.

PESTS AND DISEASES Generally trouble free in Europe.

STYLING Informal upright and cascade forms with single or multiple trunks. Due to coarse habit of Fraxinus excelsior, it is only suitable for large or extra-large sizes.