Best Trees to Replace Ash (Ash Tree Alternatives by Zone)

Best Trees to Replace Ash (Ash Tree Alternatives by Zone)

If you removed your ash tree because of emerald ash borer (EAB) and think the spot where it used to stand looks so bare, you’re not alone. Since 2002, EAB has destroyed more than 50 million ash trees in 29 states.

Bidding farewell to your ash tree was surely difficult, but now, you have a clean slate and can start anew.

Learn about the benefits of diversifying your landscape. Then, find the perfect ash tree replacement for your area.

The Best Ash Tree Replacement Species by Region

After disposing of your dead ash tree, you’ll want to diversify what you plant from here on out. Why?

Imagine if you only had ash trees in your yard, a pest like EAB could wipe out all your trees in one fell swoop. Then, your yard would be completely bare–no more shade, privacy border or energy-saving benefits. 

But, if you plant a wide variety of trees, you lessen the chances of a single pest devastating your entire tree canopy. So, if you’re planting more than one tree, choose different species.

Now, let’s do this! Find your planting zone, then choose ash tree replacements from the list below. 

Ash Tree Replacements for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic (Zones 3-9)

  • Kentucky coffeetree (zones 3-8): A tough tree that thrives in most soils
  • Hackberry (zones 3-9): A low-maintenance shade tree that can handle just about anything
  • Chinkapin oak (zones 4-7): A beautiful oak tree that tolerates most soil types (even alkaline!)
  • Hardy rubber tree (zones 5-7): A large tree with eye-catching, glossy leaves
  • Dawn redwood (zones 5-8): A fast-growing, easy-to-care-for conifer that loves water and loses its needles winter
  • London plane tree (zones 5-9): A long-living tree that is resistant to anthracnose

Ash Tree Replacements for the Southeast (Zones 5-10)

  • Swamp chestnut oak (zones 5-9): A rare shade tree that tolerates wet, swamp-like conditions
  • Texas red oak (zones 5-9): A native Texas tree that does quite well in urban environments
  • Cherrybark oak (zones 6-9): A fast-growing tree that is even better than the Southern red oak
  • Winged elm (zones 6-9): A native tree with a graceful canopy that grows in wet or dry soils
  • Southern magnolia (zones 6-10): An evergreen with white flowers that embody Southern style
  • Live oak (zones 7-10): A tree that grows fast when it’s young and handles wind and salt spray

Ash Tree Replacements for the Midwest (Zones 5-9)

  • American yellowwood (zones 5-8): A beautiful tree with cute blooms in spring and yellow leaves in fall
  • Japanese zelkova (zones 5-8): A strong shade tree that tolerates drought
  • Goldenrain tree (zones 5-9): A small, tough tree that delights with long clusters of yellow flowers
  • Lacebark elm (zones 5-9): A fast-growing ornamental tree with bark that looks like lace

Ash Tree Replacements that Thrive in Many Regions (Zones 3-9)

  • Bald cypress (zones 4-8): A shade tree that tolerates flooding and loses its needles in winter
  • Black gum (zones 4-9): A native tree with gorgeous fall color and tree blooms that bees love
  • Ginkgo (zones 3-8): A tree with graceful fan-shaped leaves that become golden in fall
  • Overcup oak (zones 5-9): A classic oak tree that can thrive in many soil types
  • Shumard oak (zones 5-9): A shade tree with fiery red fall color that can tolerate compacted soil

Itching to plant your ash tree replacement this summer? Here’s why you should wait.

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