This tree is great for small gardens

Dick Rifkind  – November 11, 2004

Mention an ash and most people think of a large, spreading tree. However, the Manchurian or mancana ash (Fraxinus mandshurica ‘Mancana’) is an ideal candidate for smaller yards, parking strips, or any area where a tree with a lush crown is desired but there isn’t room for a big canopy.

Native to northeast Asia, the tree eventually grows to about 45 feet tall and about 25 feet wide. Its upward-arching branches are so strong and stout that they shrug off the heaviest snows and most ice storms. In summer, bright green, almost chartreuse leaves give the tree a cool, refreshing look. The real show comes in fall when the leaves turn intense chrome yellow; then almost as if on cue, they drop in unison–you only have to rake leaves once. After the leaves have fallen, the new wood displays its yellow color all winter.

Manchurian ash has proven hardy to -40°. The tree has no pest problems and tolerates poor, dry, or wet soils. With good soil and ample water, it grows about 2 to 3 feet a year. Many nurseries sell this tree in containers or as balled-and-burlapped stock. If your local nursery doesn’t carry ‘Mancana’, ask to order it from a wholesale grower such as Apple Creek Propagators or Trees R Us in Bonners Ferry, Idaho.