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Ulmus americana

Common Name(s):

Description

Ulmus americana, commonly called American elm, is a medium to large deciduous tree, typically growing to 60-80’ (less frequently to 130’) tall with a vase-shaped, broad-rounded crown. It is native to eastern and central North America. Although once widely planted as a street and lawn tree, American elm populations have been so decimated by Dutch elm disease that this tree is no longer considered to be a viable selection for landscape uses.

The American elm is a beautiful native shade tree in the Ulmaceae family.  It has a fibrous root system making it easy to transplant.  

Fire Risk: This plant has a low flammability rating.

Seasons of Interest: 

   Blooms:   Winter             Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Early Spring

 

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems:  Dutch elm disease, a fatal fungal disease spread by airborne bark beetles, attacks the water-conducting tissue of the tree, resulting in wilting, defoliation and death. Phloem necrosis is a disease caused by a phytoplasma that attacks the food-conducting tissue of this tree, usually resulting in a loosening of the bark, wilting, defoliation and death. Wetwood is a bacterial disease that results in wilting and dieback. Various wilts, rots, cankers and leaf spots may also occur. Insect visitors include borers, leaf miner, beetles, mealy bugs, caterpillars and scaleis

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Liberty
  • New Harmony - disease resistant
  • 'Valley Forge' - Dutch elm disease resistant
Tags:
#butterflies#deciduous#shade tree#songbirds#rain garden#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native tree#host plant#urban#air pollution tolerant#street tree#black walnut#small mammals#cpp#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#native garden#fire resistant#Braham Arboretum
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Liberty
  • New Harmony - disease resistant
  • 'Valley Forge' - Dutch elm disease resistant
Tags:
#butterflies#deciduous#shade tree#songbirds#rain garden#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#native tree#host plant#urban#air pollution tolerant#street tree#black walnut#small mammals#cpp#low flammability#NC native#deer resistant#native garden#fire resistant#Braham Arboretum
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ulmus
    Species:
    americana
    Family:
    Ulmaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Lumber and pulpwood, firewood.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Distribution:
    Eastern North America
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    It is a host plant for the Painted Lady, Eastern Comma, Mourning Cloak, Question Mark, and Red Spotted Purple butterflies.  The seeds are eaten by songbirds and small mammals.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to fire and moderately resistant to damage from deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 75 ft. 0 in. - 125 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 60 ft. 0 in. - 120 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Spreading
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    more than 60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Description:
    The flowers give way to single-seeded wafer-like samaras (each tiny seed is surrounded by a flattened oval-rounded papery wing). The seeds mature in April-May as the leaves reach full size.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    The American elm has insignificant small green flowers that appear in spring before the foliage emerges.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Rough
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Doubly Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The American elm has rough-textured, ovate-elliptic, dark green leaves (to 6” long) with toothed margins and asymetrical bases. The leaves typically turn an undistinguished yellow in fall.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    Flat braided ridges.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Diseases
    Drought
    Fire
    Urban Conditions