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Elm, a beautiful tall tree

Elm tree

The elm tree stands out not just for its leaves but also for its grandiose size when fully grown.

Key elm facts:

Name: Ulmus sp., elm
Family: Ulmaceae
Type: tree

Height: 49 to 82 feet (15 to 25 m)
Exposure: sunny
Soil: any

Foliage: deciduous  –  Flowering: March

Big parks, forests, and spacious gardens often feature this tree. Sadly, it’s not the best choice for small gardens, because it grows very large.

Planting an elm

Plant your elm in fall. It helps roots get established before winter. Give it room; it quickly spreads its branches.

Pruning and caring for elm

Pruning elmPruning isn’t really needed, though in some regions of the world it’s a tree often used for pollarding. This is the practice of cutting branches back to the trunk, so you can use the branches for anything: tool handles, firewood, and in the case of elm, basket-weaving.

If you want to control its shape somewhat and give it some breathing room, it’s best to prune right after it drops its leaves.

Learn more about elm

Elm stands out not just for its looks but also for its wood quality. Durable and moisture-resistant, it’s top-notch lumber material.  Find a spot for it in your garden, or perhaps along roads and rivers.

With its shimmering light green leaves in summer, it’s quite the showstopper.

Here are the most popular varieties:

  • Field elm, Smooth elm
  • Mountain elm
  • American white elm

Elm lifespan:

Lifespan varies, but typically it’s around a century. Field elm can live for up to 500 years!

Elm diseases

Diseases of elm treeElm often encounters a fungus named graphiose. It shortens the lifespan of the tree dramatically. New cultivars and hybrids are appearing, but their resistance is still not ascertained.

A common development, especially among pollarded trees, is the development of large cankers. When these are big enough, they have significant value for furniture-making since the wood pattern inside these is stunning. It’s caused both by the repeated pruning of suckers and an infection by a fungus, usually Agrobacterium tumefaciens.

Smart tip

A layer of mulch is highly recommended. It keeps pesky weeds at bay, retains moisture during summer, and shields roots from winter cold.

Images: CC BY 2.0: debs-eye, Eden, Janine and Jim; Pixabay: Hans Braxmeier
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