The ashes greatly resemble each other in their quality of wood, but for profit and cultivation the white and blue ashes undoubtedly lead. Most of the farm utensils manufactured in this country are partially constructed of ash, and on this account are greatly preferred by the European farmer to those manufactured in his own country ; this is owing to the excellence of the ash used in their construction. Owing to the rapid consumption of ash, not only for farming utensils, but for any purpose where toughness and durability are wanted, there is not the slightest doubt that the ash will be one of the most profitable trees planted.
The white ash is one of our largest trees when it has attained its full growth; it is usually from two to three feet in diameter, with a straight trunk free from branches to the height of thirty or forty feet. We find the white ash in the New England States, New York, in the Northern States, and in the Dominion of Canada, but it is fast becoming scarce. It is common, but not by any means abundant, in northern Illinois and Iowa, but is met with less frequently in proceeding southward. It also grows to a small extent in southern Kansas, but is so small and crooked that it is worthless, except for fuel.
The white ash needs a moist, cool, deep soil, and will not thrive to any extent in poor, dry land. The prairies of Iowa and Illinois afford the best soil for the cultivation of the white ash; the other members of the ash species would thrive and perhaps be of more value farther south. Those trees of the ash family that have been of the most rapid growth afford the best timber, while that from slow-growing, stunted trees is generally weak and brittle.
Ash is very extensively used in constructing carriages, furniture, and agricultural implements; it also makes very good firewood. The supply is fast diminishing and its use increasing, and those who propose to take advantage of this cannot be too soon in planting and getting ready to help fill the demand. The American ashes are dioecious, i. e., the fertile and the barren flowers are on different trees. Seed is only produced by white-ash trees that are growing in open ground; it bears transplanting well, even when partially grown. It is a handsome and ornamental tree, and the only insect that attacks it is the May-bug, which devours the leaves early in the summer. The seed is ripe in October, and falls with the first frost.