Endangered White Ash: Preserving What Remains

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The wood sourced from ash trees has been utilized for making everything from baseball bats to furniture. They are used in most home building supplies, as well, such as cabinetry. Ash trees, a type of hardwood (meaning it comes from a deciduous tree that sheds its leaves every Fall), have been a source of wood used by woodworkers for some time now. This is largely due to its availability, price and durability.


  • Availability – Ash can generally be found at all hardwood lumber retailers
  • Price – Ash is one of the least expensive types of hardwood to purchase. 
  • Durability – Ash is dense and tough so it is very durable for woodworking purposes. 

This all sounds wonderful, right? Well, what if you were told that ash trees are now in a rapid decline and are on the brink of extinction? Would you still want to continue relying on various types of ash trees to meet your woodworking needs or would you want to join in on conservation efforts to hopefully preserve what remains? 

This article will educate you on the various types of ash trees, the factors that are causing them to remain on the “critically endangered” list, as well as inform you of efforts that WE all can take to reverse the negative effects that have occurred from their decline. 

Fortunately for our planet, there are companies that have educated themselves on these negative effects and have subsequently taken a brave stand against furthering the decline of ash trees. 

Here, at The Cabinet Face, we have made the decision to no longer carry any products that are sourced from White Ash trees. Our company specializes in offering high-end custom faces for IKEA cabinetry. 

At The Cabinet Face, we are committed to providing products that are both sustainable and beautiful. If you want a lighter wood look, like that of White Ash,  but from a non-endangered option, we offer both American Rift Sawn Oak and Maple Slab

Maple Slab provides the same quality and richness as white ash.

Are you looking to upgrade your home with gorgeous cabinet / closet fronts and accessories? Reach out to the professionals at The Cabinet Face today to order samples, receive an estimate on the upgrades you want or learn more about their entire process from start to finish

Types of Ash Trees

There are 13 species of ash trees 

  1. Black Ash (Fraxinus Nigra)
  2. Blue Ash (Fraxinum Quadrangulata)
  3. California Ash (Fraxinus Dipetala)
  4. Carolina Ash (Fraxinus Caroliana)
  5. European Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior)
  6. Green Ash (Fraxinus Pennsylvanica)
  7. Gregg’s Ash (Fraxinus Greggii)
  8. Manchurian Ash (Fraxinus Mandschurica)
  9. Manna Ash (Fraxinus Ornus)
  10. Narrow Leaf Ash (Fraxinus Angustifolia)
  11. Pumpkin Ash (Fraxinus Profunda)
  12. Velvet Ash (Fraxinus Velutina)
  13. White Ash (Fraxinus Americana)

Among these 13 species of ash trees, five of them are considered to be on the Red List because they are now “critically endangered”, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

Critically Endangered = Black, Blue, Green, Pumpkin and White

What Makes Ash Trees Endangered?

Ash trees are currently dying by the millions. There are various factors that play a role in these types of ash trees landing on the “Red List” by the IUCN, such as:

  • Climate Change – How does climate change play into all of this? With the rising temperatures in certain locations comes changes in precipitation patterns, which makes the ash trees more susceptible to insect infestations / diseases. 
  • Insect Infestation – Insects, such as the main culprit – the Emerald Ash Borer, are directly causing ash trees to die at a staggering rate. How do they do so? These Emerald Ash Borers (a.k.a. EABs) are small beetles that attack every species of ash tree by laying their eggs on the bark of the trees. When these eggs hatch, the larvae bury themselves into the tree and then feed on its inner bark. This, in turn, causes the tree to be unable to transport water and nutrients that are needed for it to remain alive. These larvae also strip off basically every leaf from these ash trees which causes them to die two to three years later. 
  • Disease – Diseases can also kill ash trees, like Ash Anthracnose Disease, caused when a fungus overwinters in the upper parts of the tree in seeds or twig cankers. Spores form and then begin to infect the ash leaves. 

The most common factor in the rapid decline of ash trees is the Emerald Ash Borer. 


About the Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer is a highly-invasive species of insect that has been responsible for the devastation of approximately 80% of the overall ash tree population. 

This pesky creature was originally from China and was first detected in the United States in 2002 around the Detroit, Michigan area. While its exact transportation journey is unknown, it is believed that the EABs first entered the United States via some wood packing materials that arrived from China. 

Do not let their looks fool you! While these beetles are gorgeous in appearance, with their bright, metallic-emerald hue, they are equally as destructive, as they are capable of taking down ash trees that are thousands of times their size. 

The adult beetles are usually only ½-inch long and ⅛-inch wide, which is smaller than your average American coin. Though they are small, they are mighty and will wreak havoc on every ash tree they come in contact with. 

Signs That You May Have an EAB Infestation

The initial arrival of Emerald Ash Borers usually occurs around the month of May, though they could appear sooner if the weather is warmer. 

If you happen to notice any “D” shaped patterns on the bark of your ash tree, that is a clear indication that EABs have been present. Some time after arrival, the female EABs will lay their eggs on the branches of the ash trees, immediately following mating. 

This is when the larvae will then bore into the bark of the ash trees, leaving behind rather visible and distinctive track marks. 

Of course, this is what ultimately causes the ash tree to lose its ability to transport water and nutrients as needed, eventually leading to the tree dying. 

For references, here are some visible signs that indicate an EAB infestation: 

  • Splitting bark on the ash tree. 
  • Patterns or “tunneling” under the bark. 
  • “D” shaped exit holes on the ash tree. 
  • An increased presence of woodpecker activity on the ash tree. 
  • Suckers located near the base of the ash tree. 
  • Thinning / dying of the crowns of the ash tree. 


Additional Frustrations Caused by EAB Infestations

As if the tree itself dying is not a bad enough issue from these annoying EABs, you will need to take additional measures with the ash trees after they die. 

Generally, you will need to hire a tree removal service to come dispose of the dead tree. This can cost upwards of thousands of dollars. 

The Importance of Ash Trees Among Us

Ash trees have been vital to our community since the beginning of time. Needless to say, their rapid decline has created cause for concern as it will drastically change the makeup of both urban and wild forests. Additionally, their being “critically endangered” has had major negative effects on our environment. It is believed that approximately 80% of the overall ash tree population has already been affected by these contributing factors and this will not get better unless strategic actions are taken immediately to save the remaining ash trees. 

*Ash trees are a vital part of the habitat. Wetland ash trees, for example, help to slow the erosion process. They also provide the critical habitat for surrounding wildlife such as birds, semi-aquatic creatures and even plants. These ash trees even store carbon which slows the effects of climate change and then serve as a barrier against very powerful storms. 

*Ash trees in the swamp regions serve as “ecosystem engineers” as they can change and create wetland habitats. These trees are capable of thriving in these areas, when no other surrounding trees can, because they can sustain themselves against the impending tides that come in twice daily. 

Think about how the absence of these much needed ash trees will directly affect all of its surrounding wildlife and the entire ecosystems as a whole. 

You can help to keep these ecosystems as they were intended, by not continuing to buy products made from ash wood. This is exactly what the team at The Cabinet Face is doing by taking a stand against the further use of ash wood. They strongly believe that these trees need mitigation and support to even have a small chance to recover. 

The Cabinet Face knows that using other types of wood such as Sassafras (which has the closest look to White Ash wood but produces smaller widths of wood) or White Oak (which has the closest properties to White Ash and produces wider widths of wood) will aid in stopping this major threat to our ecosystems. 

Declining Ash Trees

In 2021, the National Capital Region Inventory and Monitoring Program (NCRN I&M) reported that before the arrival of Emerald Ash Borers, there were approximately 300,000 ash trees in our national park forests. Furthermore, they reported that since the rapid decline of ash trees caused by these EABs, there are now only reported to be less than 80,000  remaining healthy ash trees. 

Efforts to Save Ash Trees

The chance to reverse these drastic effects of dying ash trees begins with you. 

You may be directly contributing to ash trees remaining on the “critically endangered” list, without even realizing it. 

How is this possible, you ask? 

It has been proven that homeowners are on the “front lines” of this ongoing issue. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stated that you can and should do the following in order to eradicate these pests: 

  • DO NOT move firewood from your property. DO NOT carry it across state lines.
  • DO buy firewood from local sources and burn it where you buy it. 
  • DO buy kiln-dried firewood. 
  • DO burn remaining firewood before the Spring to eliminate spreading EABs. 
  • DO attempt to protect healthy ash trees against EABs by applying the systemic insecticide imidacloprid to the soil surrounding the base of the ash tree. 
  • DO call the USDA Emerald Ash Borer hotline if you suspect you have EABs: 1-866-322-4512. 
  • DO frequently check for possible EABs and photograph them when you think you have located one. Send that information to your local APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) office. 

Due to the massive decrease in healthy ash trees, it is not wise to plant any types of ash trees as landscaping, at this time. 

Furthermore, you can directly help to reduce this issue by NOT purchasing any products made from ash wood. Products frequently made from ash wood include: 

  • Baseball bats
  • Hockey Sticks
  • Furniture
  • Flooring
  • Cabinetry
  • Doors
  • Moulding
  • Millwork
  • Tool Handles
  • Oars
  • Turnings 
  • Veneer

The chances of you purchasing a product made from ash wood are surprisingly very high. You should inquire about what types of wood are used when needing to purchase such items. 

Companies such as ours, The Cabinet Face, are taking a stand against the further use of any products made from ash wood because we are passionate about preserving the remaining healthy ash trees and keeping our ecosystems as intended. 

If you want to join in on these brave efforts, reach out to us at The Cabinet Face and give your IKEA cabinetry the upgrade it has been needing! Our Processes – Custom IKEA Fronts – The Cabinet Face

Need some added inspiration for your cabinet upgrade, check out The Cabinet Face Gallery now!