A small forrest of Ash trees with a golden sunrise in the background

6 Great Ash Tree Alternatives

Ash trees are majestic shade trees with lofty, arching canopies and brilliant fall color that ranges from gold to brick-red to purple. Because of the emerald ash borer, however, these noble trees are disappearing. Losing one of these magnificent specimens can be heartbreaking; however, it does present an interesting opportunity to plant something in its place. Here are six wonderful options that are perfect for fall color!


American elm trees suffered a fate similar to that of the ash tree when Dutch elm disease struck in the 1930s, but a few varieties proved to be resistant. Princeton American Elm was one of those survivors. It has that classic vase-like elm shape and it takes on vibrant golden tones in the fall. 


As its name suggests, Autumn Gold Ginkgo will give you clear and bright yellow foliage when fall comes around. This tough, hardy shade tree will light up your landscape each year, whether you live in the city or the country. 


American Sweetgum will win you over with its beautiful multicolored foliage. While no two trees are the same, a beautiful fall spectacle will often consist of red, orange, yellow, green, and purple. You can even shake things up with a variegated sweetgum like Silver King or Variegated Sweetgum. 


Growing fast and tall, Tulip Poplar makes a fine ash replacement. Not only does it offer yellow foliage in the fall, but you’ll also enjoy its marvelous green and orange flowers in late spring. 


This uncommon native tree serves up golden autumn foliage, smooth beech-like bark, and fragrant white flowers in spring. American Yellowwood doesn’t get as large as most ash trees, but it casts enough shade for a picnic table or a few lounge chairs, and that’s good enough for us!


This ash alternative is among the top choices in terms of good looks and ease of care. Green Vase Japanese Zelkova has a formal, upright arching outline and clean, healthy foliage untroubled by pests. Plant it in a prominent spot and the praises will follow!

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