American Elm (Ulmus americana)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up American Elm
Give a thumbs up White Elm

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 2 -45.6 °C (-50 °F) to -42.8 °C (-45°F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 10a
Plant Height: 60 feet to 100 feet
Leaves: Deciduous
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: Green
Other: Greenish-red
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Shade Tree
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Salt tolerant
Pollinators: Wind
Containers: Not suitable for containers


Photo gallery:

Posted by robertduval14 (Mason, New Hampshire - Zone 5b) on Apr 18, 2013 9:30 PM

The state tree of Massachusetts.


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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Dec 4, 2017 7:17 PM

Of course the American or White Elm was devastated by the Dutch Elm Disease, even with some Elm Phloem Necrosis, both diseases from east Asia. However, I have seen a number of lone American Elm trees still surviving from the Chicago area to the Philadelphia area, including Delaware. Some of these trees might have survived by isolation, but I think most are the very few that had resistance to DED. Because this species has 2x as many chromosomes as other elms, it can't be hybridized, so some organizations have brought forth cultivars from resistant trees. The 'Princeton' Elm was already around in New Jersey as a cultivar that happened to be resistant already. A good number of larger, diverse nurseries are offering some American Elms as cultivars with 'Jefferson, New Harmony, Princeton, and Valley Forge' being the most commonly offered. I've seen a few spots in the borough in which I am dwelling in southeast Pennsylvania where some younger trees have been planted by landscape architects in parkways and some public spaces. I believe the Nature Conservancy is working on having resistant elms that are not cultivars, but seed grown.

The native range of the American Elm is large from Nova Scotia out to Alberta, down to east Texas to most of Florida and back up north. It grows fast of about 2 feet/year and lives 175 to 200 years or a little more. It usually gets good golden fall color, but some don't. It develops that wonderful vase shape. The leaves are 4 to 6 inches x 1 to 3 inches and are not really rough to the touch. It releases its many wafer-like samaras in spring, usually May. I consider it as the best elm species in the world. It is making a comeback, but should not be planted in such huge numbers as it used to be all along streets or in yards.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
What tree are these seeds from? by DogsNDaylilies Jun 4, 2018 6:19 AM 5
identify plant by superpninja May 11, 2018 12:29 AM 9
Tree ID? by tx_flower_child Dec 31, 2017 3:16 AM 17
Please ID tree/large shrub by Muddy1 Jun 10, 2017 5:34 PM 13
need to know about a plant by green25 May 29, 2017 9:31 AM 7
Can Anyone Identify this Tree? by Alancyrier Mar 5, 2017 3:54 PM 4
Final West Tenn Tree ID by Booster Mar 4, 2017 9:57 PM 1
Tree West Tennessee this am by Booster Mar 5, 2017 10:49 AM 1
Name this tree by AlyssaBlue Jun 8, 2016 8:39 PM 15
Interesting plant by Junker1004 May 20, 2016 1:20 PM 280

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