Ash is one of the trees that is native to the UK. It is a delightful addition to your garden.

Growing ash trees:

Ash trees can be purchased as saplings from a garden centre or specialist. Alternatively you could have a go at growing your own ash tree from seed. Ash 'keys' as the seeds are known, ripen during September and October. You should wait for the green 'keys' to dry to a brown colour before planting as germination will then be more successful.

The seeds should be 'de-bunched' or separated by hand. Keep the seeds you want to plant in a cool, dry place. A bag in the fridge is ideal. You soak the seed for 24 hours in cold water, change the water and then place the seed in new water for a further 24 hours. Drain the water and plant seeds into a large pot with a well-draining potting medium. Place stones or crocks in the bottom of the pot to increase drainage. You will have to have patience because the pot must then be left outside for 18 months for the seed embryo to mature. After 18 months making sure the pot gets enough water if it is very dry and protecting seeds from mice and birds, you can then sow the seeds. You can see why most people will choose to buy a sapling instead of going through all that effort.

Ash will grow quickly if given enough water. It is a good idea to reduce the frequency of watering when it gets towards autumn. It is also absolutely essential to make sure that ash saplings are well fed. They do not like an acid soil so if your soil tends that way, the sapling will benefit from a top dressing of garden lime.

Whether you have bought it of grown it yourself, when you transplant the ash tree to its final home you should make sure that the surrounding area is weed-free and dig a hole big enough to accommodate the root ball. Always plant to the same depth as it was in the pot.

One established, ash grows fairly quickly, but with thrive particularly well on chalky or alkaline soil, in a wet area with lots of light.

Why grow ash trees in the garden?

If you are interested in living a more self-sufficient lifestyle then ash is a great tree to grow. It is extremely useful as a firewood, and as a hardwood for furniture making and a range of other uses. It is a great choice for coppiced woodland and it is usually coppiced on a 25-30 year rotation.

Even if you do not have the space for such endeavours, an ash tree can be a lovely addition to your garden. The grand ash is often seen as a healing tree and was the the world tree of the Vikings. The ash can grow to up to around 35m in height. It is one of the most common trees, but is currently suffering from a disease called Chalara ash dieback so be careful where you source your tree.

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