Wafer Ash

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Pretty tri-lobed leaves, the Wafer Ash Tree (Ptelea trifoliata) is also known as the Common Hop Tree, but you'll be glad to learn about this hardy native! Grown as either a tall shrub or small tree, the unique leaves and fragrant blooms add to these deciduous plant's allure!

In late spring, the flowers appear as small, greenish-white clusters before becoming clusters of winged seeds that resemble Elm Tree in the late summer, adding color contrast among the dark green foliage. Pollinators and beneficial insects are drawn to these blooms. Wafer-Ash foliage then turns a pleasing yellow in fall. Members of the Rue and Citrus family, it has a slightly citrusy, musky, or skunky smell when crushed, giving rise to common names like Skunk Bush.

Called the Hop tree because early American brewers used the fruit as a substitute for hops when brewing beer, these persistent papery wafers dangle until eaten by birds and squirrels, that will adore you for planting this wonderful native shrub.

Growing throughout USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9, these widely adaptable shrubby multi-trunked trees are found growing throughout a wide variety of moist to dry sites in the understory or the sun!

Planting and Application:

A handsome smaller tree, the Wafer Ash adds its shiny leaves to hedges and mixed borders! Its thorns can be daunting and its natural growth habit can be both informal and trimmed as a manicured landscaping plant! Making it a versatile hedgerow and barrier planting for privacy - deterring trespassers - both two and four-legged!

With a touch of pruning, you can sculpt Wafer Ash into a small tree. Either way, your backyard songbirds will find its thorny, dense branching the perfect haven to roost, nest, and forage in for food. Handling shade of all kinds, these trees are wonderful understory additions that won't mind basking beneath the canopy of larger trees.

  • Fragrant Flower Clusters & Papery Seed Pods
  • Shiny Scented Foliage
  • Dense Thorny Growth
  • Hardy Native - Tree or Shrub Form
  • Supports Local Bird Populations
  • Understory, Hedges, Shelterbelts, Barriers & Accent Plants

#ProPlantTips for Care:

Wafer Ash Trees grow equally well in part sun or full shade, which makes it an ideal understory tree. Tolerant of a wide array of soil types and hardy in a wide range of growing zones. Not minding rocky and dry soil or well-drained high moisture locations, these slower-growing trees are wonderfully low-maintenance! Rarely damaged by Deer, the thorns so their duty to stop browsing wildlife unless they're truly desperate. Prune when the flowers are done to shape or train your shrub into a tree or hedge with ease!

  • Partial Shade & Full Shade
  • Almost Any Well-Drained Soil
  • Wide Range of Moisture Adaptability
  • Prune After Flowering
  • Low-Maintenance & Deer Resistant

The bird-friendly shade-loving native, the lovely Wafer Ash Tree will screen and protect your landscape without requiring much work from you! Provide backyard habitat and food resources for wildlife with NatureHills.com today!

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Keep in mind, specific varieties and different growing conditions can affect the rate at which plants grow. Variations in size may occur.

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#6 Container Ranges from 5.25 to 6.01 dry gallons / 23.12 to 26.42 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with NatureHills.com and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

Click Here to learn more

Plant Sentry


To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep. We use FedEx, UPS, or USPS at our discretion.

Due to winter weather we have put a hold on shipping to the areas shown below in grey. You can still order now and we will ship the plant to you during an appropriate time for your zone.

*If you have found your zone already, it will be highlighted in the table below.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
4 Now
5 Now
6 Now
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9 Now
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11 Now

Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 24.99
20 - 49.99 29.99
50 - 69.99 34.99
70 - 99.99 39.99
100 - 129.99 44.99
130 - 149.99 48.99
150 - 150+ Approx 28%

Click here to see our full rates


Wafer Ash Is Suited to Grow in Zones 4 - 9
Growing Zones 4 - 9
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Ptelea trifoliata
Type Deciduous
Mature Height 15 - 20 Feet
Mature Spread 10 - 20 Feet
Sun Exposure Full Shade, Partial Shade
Soil Well Drained Soil
Moisture Low Once Established
Growth Rate Slow
Flower Color Green
Fall Color Yellow
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Pruning Time After Flowering
Fragrant Yes