Ash Seed Collection in Natural Areas
As emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) decimates North American ash species (Fraxinus spp.), the genetic diversity of the species is being lost. Preservation of the ash genetic resource through long-term seed storage is a goal of a program at the National Seed Lab. White ash (Fraxinus americana) and green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) are very common and seeds from these species can easily be collected along roadsides in Ohio. Other ash species, pumpkin ash (Fraxinus profunda), black ash (Fraxinus nigra) and blue ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata), are less common in Ohio and mostly occur in natural areas where the height of the canopy makes seed collection difficult.
We are developing methods to collect seeds from less common ash species in natural areas of Ohio. We have experimented with three methods: clipping a branch with pole pruners, shaking or breaking a branch with a rope, and using a rope saw to cut a branch. The two latter methods involve using a powerful slingshot and throw bag to shoot the rope over branches over 60 ft. high.
We are working together to develop an instructional guide and video for ash seed collection in natural areas.
- Kathleen Knight, US Forest Service- Research Ecologist
- Mary Mason, US Forest Service- Research Associate
- Robert Karrfalt, US Forest Service- National Seed Lab
Last Modified: 04/03/2015