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Author Topic: Ash ID in South Carolina  (Read 2723 times)

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Offline Okrafarmer

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Ash ID in South Carolina
« on: February 14, 2013, 08:08:00 AM »
I cut my first ash trees Tuesday. I wasn't sure of the species, but after I got home I looked in "The Book" (thanks, WDH) and saw that there are primarily two species of ash that grow naturally around here. These ash were definitely in what seemed to be a naturally propagating area, so I guess I probably have two options, white ash or green ash. It looks from initial inspection that green ash has a dark bark and white ash has a lighter bark. Is that fairly accurate? Of course the leaves are not out yet. They were in Taylors, South Carolina, in the center of Greenville County. No, I didn't take pictures, I was in the heat of the moment, but I can get pictures of the logs at some point, maybe tomorrow.
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

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Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2013, 11:06:48 AM »
An experienced eye can usually distinguish green ash from white by the bark, but the diagnostic trait is the pattern of fissures on the bark, not the color. The more reliable things to look at are the twigs (specifically, the leaf scars) and the samaras. The pictures in "The Book" should communicate the differences more clearly than I can by words.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2013, 10:21:32 PM »
Dodgy is right on.  Look at the leaf scars on the twig.  In white ash, the petiole will surround and swallow up the bud.  In green ash, the bud will just be sticking up enough to show as viewed from the side.  In white ash, the blade of the samara does not extend much past the body of the seed, whereas, in green ash, the blade of the samara extends about halfway down the seed.

All said and done, there is not a pot-o-beans difference between the two. The lumber is indistinguishable between the two.  Botanists like to be splitters.
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Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2013, 01:35:09 AM »
An experienced eye can usually distinguish green ash from white by the bark, but the diagnostic trait is the pattern of fissures on the bark, not the color. The more reliable things to look at are the twigs (specifically, the leaf scars) and the samaras. The pictures in "The Book" should communicate the differences more clearly than I can by words.

Ok, so what about this bark pattern distinction? Maybe I'm OCD, but I like to learn my species so I can tell my OCD customers what species their wood is. I may only get the logs sometimes, without all the petioles and samaras and such.  :-\
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

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Offline beenthere

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2013, 01:42:32 AM »
Tell 'em it is ash.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2013, 06:10:33 AM »
Okra, In your region, as far as lumber goes, it isn't going to be worth the extra effort to separate the two. Just call it "white ash" and you would not be lying. Just like grouping red oaks and white oaks. However, up my way and Maine you have to separate black ash from "white ash".

On the white ash vs green ash (sometimes called red ash), in my area the latest branch tips on white ash are dark purple or black when they harden off for winter. And leaves mostly turn a mahogany or red-purplish color in fall. But sadly the leaves drop very quickly compared to maple.  :'(
Move'n on.

Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2013, 11:42:07 PM »
"The Book" states, on page 255, that "Wood of green ash is inferior to that of white ash, being more brittle and less resilient."

So, based on this, I like to know which species. I should have kept a twig but I was in a hurry and the guy I was clearing them for probably already burned the brush.

If the bark pictures in "The Book" are anything to go on, I have seen both green ash and white ash in the area, and the ones I cut were probably white ash.
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2013, 03:36:18 AM »
You'll want to throw that book out. ;D Oregon ash is also grouped with  he "white ash. I looked up the description of "white ash" and it was calling green ash, red ash, further on in the next paragraph. My Canadian dendro text calls it red ash. Also my books on these ash makes no distinction in the wood. If I gave you a board of green (red) and of white, you gonna show me the difference? ;D

When we talk about pounding ash for baskets, it's not from "white ash", native basket making was always from black ash. They made lots of baskets locally on the reservation for potato picking on farms.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2013, 05:25:04 AM »
  But sadly the leaves drop very quickly compared to maple.  :'(
They are all dead now around here but before the EAB hit them the ash were the first ones to drop their leaves .They certainly do not display the vivid colors of a sugar maple tree in fall .The beech are the last ones to shed fact they still have some of last seasons follage hanging on .

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2013, 06:14:26 AM »
Yes, my yard beech and white oak hold the dry dead leaves all winter until the buds break in spring.

A couple years ago the neighbor said my oak died. I said in a sense I suppose, but it's just dormant. ;D
Move'n on.

Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2013, 11:18:25 PM »
You'll want to throw that book out.
:o  I'm going to tell WDH on you.  >:(
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

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Offline WDH

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2013, 07:31:16 AM »
I suspect that they hybridize, too, so it is a tangled web  :).
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Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2013, 07:46:47 AM »
Can you post pictures of the bark?
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Offline WDH

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2013, 08:05:42 AM »
Dodgy,

Explain the differences that you see in the bark.
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2013, 03:03:10 PM »
I will try to get some pictures ASAP. Err, there's a slight possibility I could be wrong and it isn't ash at all.  :-[ But I'm pretty sure that's what it is. It cut fairly easily with the chainsaw (not like hickory), and smelled a bit like burned wood (like hickory does, but definitely softer). Another possibility could be basswood, but I don't think that's what it was. The corn rows of the bark were rather small, like the size of a pencil or a tad smaller.
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

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Offline WDH

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2013, 09:13:05 PM »
Look at a clean slice of the end grain.  Ash is ring porous with a large earlywood pores (wood put down in the Spring in the growth ring) and distinctly smaller latewood pores (wood put down in the summer in the growth ring) while basswood is diffuse porous with all small pores with no distinction between the earlywood and latewood.  That is why the grain is so plain in basswood.
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Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2013, 09:16:32 PM »
Gotcha, I will check for that. Either way, I have neither milled either species before, so I am looking forward to it. Does ash usually have a really distinct heartwood of good size? Seems like one of these trees didn't show a real distinct or very dark heartwood.
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

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Offline WDH

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2013, 09:41:10 PM »
No, not like cherry or walnut.  It can have heartwood all right, but it does not predominate.
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Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2013, 10:02:46 PM »
It's possible that one of the ones I cut was a black gum. It had very little or no heartwood to show. I will check it out more thoroughly. Some of them I'm pretty sure were ash.
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

Reduced to Uber Driver and a broken MS290 Stihl

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Offline WDH

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Re: Ash ID in South Carolina
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2013, 10:05:03 PM »
Blackgum is also diffuse porous, like basswood.  It has very little "grain" in the lumber.
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com


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