European ash seeds


Distribution & Provenance
Ash is a native species to I reland but wi th a wide natural distribution, ranging across Europe as far as central Russia in the east, the Mediterranean in the south and central Sweden in the north. Ash has a strong ability to regenerate naturally on bare ground or in hedgerows, where it is probably best known in I reland. There are no known di f ferences between ash provenances from different parts of Ireland. Generally, seed used in Ireland is of either Irish or English provenance and has been collected from straight, fast growing trees of good
Silviculture & Management
Ash requi res moist but f ree draining, nut r ient r ich and sheltered but frost free sites on which to produce quality fast grown timber. Because ash is so site demanding, suitable sites are generally small. Ash is planted at an initial stocking of 3,300 stems per hectare at a spacing of 2.0 metre x 1.5 metre (2 metres between rows and 1.5 met res wi thin rows). Vegetat ion cont rol is ext remely impor tant in ash plantat ions as it is a spec ies very sensitive to competition from weeds for both nutrients and moisture. Ash is a strong light demander and must be thinned heavily and regularly. Thinning promotes the development of large c rowns whi ch in turn st imulate diameter growth. Deformed, diseased and over aggressive trees are removed at an early stage and pruning of selecteds tems is also sometimes necessary. Ash is not known to grow well as a pure crop and pure ash s tands have a low volume production per hectare. It is therefore often advised either to plant ash in mixture with other species such as alder or larch or to introduce an under-storey crop such as beech or hornbeam at a stage when the ash is about 15 to 20m tal l . Underplant ing is cur rent ly not widely practiced in Ireland and it is advisable to consultaqualified forester on such a matter. Sizeable ash thinnings (approximately 30 cent imetres in diameter at breas t height ) can be harvested for hurey product ion.
This is a highly skilled operation and should be carried out by the hurley maker. Following this harvest, the crop is grown on for a further 20 years to produce veneer logs and large sawlogs. Ash is very susceptible to frost which causes forking of the main stem and can result in poor quality stem form. It is therefore not sui ted to sites where frosts occur regularly. Other risks to ash crops include livestock trespass, browsing from rabbits, hares and deer and ash bud moth which lives in ash buds and can cause forking.