Seed Collection Planning

Ontario Ash Seed Collections and Targets

As of 2017, Ontario has contributed:

  • 93 white ash (Fraxinus americana) seed collections (75 collections have >25% germination)
  • 19 black ash (Fraxinus nigra) seed collections (18 collections have >25% germination)
  • 160 green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) seed collections (142 collections have >25% germination)
  • 1 pumpkin ash (Fraxinus profunda) seed collection
  • 20 blue ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata) seed collections
  • The 2018 seed collections will be included if deemed worthy of long-term storage.
  • Only 3 ecodistricts for green ash are deemed "TARGET ACHIEVED" and genetic diversity secure.
  • Even if the targets are amalgamated for OMNR Seed Zones (1996), very few are "TARGETS ACHIEVED".

The best opportunity to collect seed is ahead of the EAB front.

The goal is to collect high-quality from a minimum of 2 populations from each ecodistrict (at least 10–15 trees sampled separately per population, each tree spaced 50–100 meters apart), 6 litres of seed per tree. While ash seed can be stored for long periods of time, seed germination rates do decline over time. Below 25% germination, much of the genetic diversity in a local population may be lost. The oldest seedlots at NTSC are from 1977; recent tests show 8–43% high vigour germinants for green and white ash.

You can explore all the NTSC seed collection information on the CAFGRIS website.

2019-2020 Southern Ontario Ash Collection Targets

OMNRF Forest Health Review 2016

FGCA's Operational Area by Ecodistrict

White Ash 1995-1999 Tree Atlas Survey

Black Ash 1995-1999 Tree Atlas Survey

November 2018: Black ash was officially listed as Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ontario has not yet responded to the listing.

Green / Red Ash 1995-1999 Tree Atlas Survey

Northern Ontario: as many as possible, report seed to the Invasive Species Centre

Pumpkin Ash Range & 1995-1999 Tree Atlas Survey

Historical range of pumpkin ash (Wikipedia Commons)

Pumpkin ash was discovered in Ontario in the 1990s, suspected to be a hybrid between red and white ash. Expert opinion in 2018 deems pumpkin ash likely reproductively dysfunctional in Ontario (G. Waldron, S. Fox, J. Ambrose, M. Gartshore, S. Weber, K. Sandvall pers. communication), with the last native seed collections grown out in 2014–2015. Urgent attention is needed in 2019–2020 to confirm if any sexually mature individuals remaining in the wild and report to FGCA/NTSC/COSSARO (i.e. in Rondeau Provincial Park).

Blue Ash Seed Targets (SARO Special Concern)

Historical range of blue ash (Wikipedia Commons)
1995-1999 Blue Ash Survey by University of Guelph Arboretum (Alan Watson)

Final SARA Recovery Plan for Blue Ash

Despite being the only ash listed under SARA, blue ash is the most EAB tolerant of all native ash species though higher mortality rates were observed in dense Pelee Island stands in 2018. The most diverse breeding population of blue ash resides at the University of Guelph Arboretum, of seed-grown progeny from natural isolated populations in the 1980s in foresight by Henry Koch and friends. Most of the NTSC seed collections originate from this inter-situ seed orchard. Progeny from this orchard may have much higher genetic diversity values relative to natural stands for restoration projects contributing to the Canada's Recovery Plan.