Fraxinus excelsior aurea, also known as the Golden Ash, is a long-time favourite for parks and gardens. This attractive deciduous tree makes a great main feature wherever it’s planted. In autumn, its foliage turns a brilliant golden yellow – so this stunning tree is an excellent ornamental plant for your home.
To grow golden ash in a garden, choose a sunny spot that doesn’t get strong winds. It will tolerate most climates, including wet, dry, and cold conditions. Plant your tree in well-drained soil, and water well until established. Prune the tree to encourage new growth. If you have trouble maintaining the tree, an expert gardening service can help you out!
In need of an autumn tree for your garden? Fraxinus excelsior is the plant for you. Here’s how to grow a golden ash tree in your garden.
About the Fraxinus Excelsior
Golden ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior aurea) are generally planted for their gorgeous autumn colour. At maturity, they can reach 7m in height with annual growth of 45cm. They’re not ideal for small gardens, but you can prune the tree down to a more manageable size.
The trees are recognisable for their yellow autumn foliage and rounded crown. Their young branches turn yellow in winter, with distinctive black buds. The leaves are a vibrant green in summer, although their flowers are not of particular note.
Golden Ash is from the Excelsior species.
These specimen trees are of multi-seasonal interest, and are frequently used in parks. They make excellent shade trees.
Golden Ash Growing Conditions
Golden Ash trees like full sun! Pick a nice, open spot in your garden – and if you like, choose companion shade plants to go with it.
For best results, this tree prefers a deep, well-drained loam but will tolerate most soils. You can prep soil with mulch before planting, and fertilise during summer.
Your tree will tolerate most climates, but prefers cold and temperate zones. It will also grow in wet and coastal areas, and can live through dry periods.
Water regularly while establishing. Once mature and established, this tree is drought tolerant.
How to Grow a Golden Ash
The easiest way to grow this tree is from a seedling. Check your local nurseries to see which have this plant available for purchase, and make sure they’re at least 40cm tall. Then you’re ready to get planting!
- Pick a sunny spot with well-drained soil, preferably sheltered from the wind, so your seedling doesn’t sustain damage.
- Dig a hole that’s just as deep and twice as wide as the root ball.
- Remove the plant from its container. Gently tease and detangle the roots, but don’t fiddle too much.
- Position the plant in the hole and backfill with soil.
- Carefully firm the soil down and then water well to ensure the soil settles. Keep the soil moist, watering about once or twice a week, depending on the weather.
- You can fertilise in spring and autumn to encourage healthy plant growth and root development.
After that, all that’s left is to slowly wait for your seedling to grow!
Growing Golden Ash from Seed
It’s definitely easier to grow ash trees from seedlings, but it’s not impossible to grow golden ash from seed. If you have ash keys (the seed pods), you can try and give it a go – just know it’ll take 18 months for the seeds to fully germinate.
Soak ash seeds in cold water for 48 hours as preparation. (Make sure to change the water after a day!) Drain the seeds, then mix with equal parts horticultural sand and leaf mould or otherwise peat-free compost. For every handful of seeds, add 2-3 handfuls of your planting mix.
Pick a large pot and layer it with stones at the bottom. Cover with some sand, then add the planting mix/seed combination. Cover again with 2-3cm of sand.
Place the pot in a shady spot outdoors at the start of summer. Water if it shows signs of drying out, and make sure it’s protected from any curious animals.
Your seeds need to spend the whole summer to the next spring in the pot before they’re ready for sowing. After that, choose medium to large pots and sow 2-3 seeds per pot (or 400 seeds per square metre of seedbed). Cover with 0.5-1cm of coarse horticultural grit.
Keep seedlings moist, and feed regularly. After a year they should reach 40cm, which makes them ready for growing. And that’s how to grow a golden ash tree – time to make a statement in your garden!