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Common Name:

Arizona Ash, Velvet Ash or Modesto Ash

Scientific Name:

Fraxinus velutina

Family Name:



Arizona Ash is a native ash to the Southwestern USA that forms a rounded lollipop-like crown. The foliage is very fine textured for an ash. Fall color is brown to yellow. Very popular for its rapid growth rate and drought tolerance, but a very poor long-term choice for Texas landscapes.

Plant Habit or Use:

Tree, small tree, medium tree



Flower Color:

Green, dioecious, plant only male cones

Blooming Period:


Fruit Characteristics:

Small woody samara in 6 inch panicles, can be very profusely borne and a maintenance liability, weedy on some sites


20 ft to 30 ft (40 ft)


25 ft to 40 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Low Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

7, 8, 9

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Aside from limited cold hardiness, probably the most site tolerant ash species planted in Texas; incredibly susceptible to ash borers and this is typically the limiting factor in its life span; shallow roots also hinder turf culture; subject to most other ash maladies as well; classic example of a native species that is not necessarily a better landscape plant than an exotic species.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.