This tree if great for small gardens

This tree is great for small gardens

Dick Rifkind

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.

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