lost its leading shoot

nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 25,883


 This is a golden ash, given to me with no name. It's grafted, presumably onto ordinary ash. The leading shot has died back. 

Should I leave it to sort itself out, cut it out and leave the rest, prune just leaving one shoot or cut it back further. There's not obvious new leader, they're all at much the same angle. I don't think this is ash die back. It's been where it is for 2 years and until this summer it was very dry for all that time. I wasn't very diligent with watering and this was the result. 


  • I think I would leave it,the lower branches maybe,more advice from an expert.They do go like this in winter but the shape is what you have to be careful with .image

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    I'd be inclined to cut out just the dead/diseased bit.

    You need to be a tiny bit careful that no disease has spread down into the main shoot, and that no rotting develops in the top where you cut it.

    Common ash tends to be very robust and vigourous. Ash can be cut right down and will regrow.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 25,883

    Thanks .

    I'll take it just below the dead bit. Looks as though I have about 1cm live growth. If it dies back more I'll take it back to the next pair off branches straight away before it gets a chance to spread further. Does that seem OK? I don't mind if it ends up multi stemmed but horizontal stems make rather an odd shaped plant with no leader.

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    I don't think that missing a leader will be a big problem.

    It may simply form a crown.

    Or you might find further shoots coming from buds in the axils right at the top.

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,102

    By the way it is almost certainly Fraxinus excelsior Jaspidea. It is grafted and the seeds grow as ordinary Ash and it is going to get the Ash fungus if it comes to your area.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 25,883

    Thought it might. The loss of the existing mature ashes will be the greater sadness.

  • If you want to improve the shape you could train one of the shoots upwards, and it will become a new leader - shoots trained vertically will usually grow more vigorously than more horizontal ones.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 25,883

    Tie it up to a cane? I wondered about that but didn't want to damage shoots.

  • Tying it to a cane should work, if you are carefull not to bend it so far it breaks.

    Alternatively, as was suggested earlier you could prune the existing shoots, then next spring train one of the resulting new, softer shoots up a cane to become new leader. Hope it survives the ash die back, any signs of it in your part of the country (where?)

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 25,883

    The disease is in east anglia and so am I. But I remain optimistic.

    I've had another thought. Supposing I cut to the next branching down, where there are just 2 potential branches and trained both of them up. That would be well below the problem area and training more substantial growth. What do you think?

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