White Ash Seed

Help Us Find Ash Seed and EAB Survivors

Melissa Spearing General, Seed Collector, Stock Production

We need your help to Find Ash Seed and EAB Survivors!

The FGCA has some funds this year to support the National Conservation Strategy for all native ash species in Ontario (white, green, black, blue and pumpkin). We need your help to find trees with viable seed to bank ahead of the Emerald Ash Borer impact. We haven’t much time left before EAB reaches most of Ontario’s natural stands. We are also looking for trees that have survived an EAB infestation without being treated by TreeAzin.

FGCA has set up its first iNaturalist project last year to gather reports from citizen scientists. You can download the app for any smartphone or Tablet, or submit observations online for free: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/ontario-native-ash-seed-and-survivor-dna-collection

A manual observation report form is also provided at the bottom of this page and here.

The national conservation effort is lead by the National Tree Seed Centre, and FGCA has contributed training, seed and support since 2004. In 2017, the Canadian Forest Service began DNA sampling as well.

In October 2018, Melissa Spearing, FGCA’s Seed Program Coordinator, toured from Guelph to Point Pelee with Sean Fox of the University of Guelph Arboretum. We sampled 36 trees and three small seed collections, now documented on our project site. Surviving trees 10+ years after EAB infestation may hold genetic clues to genetic tolerance and help us plan reintroductions of these ecologically important species.

We are looking for:

  • Trees in a native stand (not planted), i.e. forest, hedgerow. Permission to access and collect samples must be available from the land manager or landowner.
  • For survivor DNA samples, we prefer larger trees (>20 cm DBH) with healthy crowns. We will cut leaf or bud samples with pole pruners or pull down samples with a throw line. Smaller trees may be considered.
  • Seed must be viable and of good quality (filled embryos, low insect damage); send us a cut test photo like the one below of 20-30 seeds to judge feasibility.
White Ash Seed

White Ash seed cut to show ideal seed quality (white embryos, filled seed at the right time of year).

Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) poor cut test, zero viable embryos, likely aborted midsummer or eaten by ash weevil. Photo by Melissa Spearing.

Maps are attached of existing collections at NTSC and ecodistricts, to show areas we are lacking, as well as summarized on our 2018 project website.

Research from the US Forest Service’s Northern Research Station (Delaware, Ohio) about lingering ash can be found here: https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/people/jkoch

Please share this post with colleagues interested in ash conservation and feel free to use the iNaturalist link to help spread the word!


Melissa Spearing
Seed Program Coordinator, Forest Gene Conservation Association
Email: melissa@fgca.net
Cell/Text: (416) 909-9755

Map of Black Ash Seed Collections

Black Ash Seed Collections

Map of Green Ash Seed Collctions

Green Ash Seed Collections

Map of White Ash Seed Collections

White Ash Seed Collections

Report Ash Seed and EAB Survivors

Help us prioritize observations and keep track of landowner contact information. Form created October 2018.
  • FGCA will only contact you to follow-up on this inquiry and will not collect or share your email for marketing purposes. You will not receive regular information from us unless you sign up for it.
  • Provide the property address where the tree is located, especially if you are a private landowner. Specific GPS points can be provided below.
    FGCA and the NTSC annually prioritize which species in which areas are needed to fulfill the conservation strategy. It is important to us you know which species it is, but if you don't know, attaching one or more photos of the full tree, leaf, bark and seeds can help. Non-native, planted specimens will not be accepted.
    We do not take seed or DNA samples without permission of the landowner, be in private, municipal or another organization. If you are not the owner, please describe below who is or may be.
    Naturally occurring trees (not planted) with seed on them do qualify for seed collection, but would not qualify for survivor DNA samples.
  • Please describe greater location information (i.e. GPS point(s)), the number of healthy trees, size or age to the best of your abilities, history of the property and how much seed you see in 250 words or less.
  • Accepted file types: jpg, pdf.
    Send photos (jpg or pdf) showing the entire tree during the growing season, leaf clusters, twigs/buds, bark or seed clusters. (max file upload = 5MB)
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.