By Bev Johnson

Master Gardener

Actually, these trees and shrubs are misnamed.  They aren’t ashes, they are actually related to apples.  If you look closely, you will notice the resemblance to a very small apple.

Kashmir Rowan grows in the Himalayan mountains.  She blooms in the early spring, April or May.  The flower clusters are white, or pink followed by white berries that persist well into the winter.  She will tolerate most solid, but a little rotted leaf mold added to the planting hole will make her happy.  (See, I told you to make leaf mold).  She will do well in dappled shade or full sun.  This is a very small tree about 30 feet tall and wide at maturity.  A perfect tree for small yards.  There are several cultivars of this pretty tree. The resulting berries are yellow.  Maiden’s Blush has pale pink fruits and Kristen pink has dark pink ones.  These small trees are zone 3 to 6 girls so will do well here as they prefer cool climates.  

Whitebeam, Saria is a European species named for the white undersides of her leaves.  She is also a small tree, 35 to 45 feet tall with a compact domed shape.  She is much more tolerant of poor soils that some of the other species.  She has nice white flowers in the spring with clusters of red edible berries in the fall.  Most of the fruit of other Mountain Ash are only edible if you are a bird.  S Aura is a cultivar with yellow foliage.  S aria majestica had larger fruit and leaves making it an attractive option.  She likes our zone 3 and will even do well up to zone 8. 

Green’s Mountain Ash is a western ash.  She has a habit of forming thickets, so you will need to keep the clippers handy if you want a single shrub.  She normally grows as a tall narrow shrub, reaching only 8 to 15 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide.  A perfect accent shrub.  She grows from the Canadian Pacific to the Rocky Mountains, a true native.  The shiny orange fruits are a favorite of gray jays and other birds of the region.  She is a bit stunted in southeastern Alaska, where she looks like a small tree.  She is a zone 3 to 8.

You may have difficulty finding some of these trees locally.  You may have to get friendly with your local nursery owner.  They may have access to one or more of these rather special trees and shrubs.  You may even make extra money for him if they catch on here.  Can’t hurt to try.