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Similar but less problematic plants:
Ulmus parvifolia Ulmus parvifolia
Ulmus pumila is often confused with:
Ulmus x 'Cathedral' Leaf closeup
Native alternative(s) for Ulmus pumila:
Acer rubrum Acer rubrum
Quercus pagoda Form
Quercus rubra Quercus rubra
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Melia azedarach close up of flowers
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata Ampelopsis brevipedunculata
Vitex trifolia subsp. litoralis Flowers

Ulmus pumila

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
ULM-us POO-mil-uh
Description

Very adaptable tree, fast-growing and often grows in poor soils and withstands drought. It is resistant to Dutch elm disease has been used to develop other elms with resistance.  It is generally is considered a poor ornamental tree, mostly because of its weak branches, messy habit, and susceptibility to insect attack, especially leaf beetles. It can form large colonies with its copious seed formation and is considered invasive in some states. Uses would be in poor soils for erosion control in areas where ornamental value is not a consideration.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  The leaves often eaten by elm leaf beetle. Other problem insects include borers, leaf miners,  mealy bugs, caterpillars, and scale. It is resistant but not immune to dutch elm disease and phloem necrosis. It suffers from various wilts, rots, and cankers.   

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Chinkota'
    Seed-produced line of extra cold-hardy trees.
  • 'Coolshade'
    Resistance to limb breakage during storms
  • 'Improved Coolshade'
    Drought tolerant, hardy, resistant to limb breakage
  • 'Lincoln'
    Resistant to Dutch elm disease
  • 'Morton Plainsman' (Vanguardâ„¢)-
    Good disease resistance and tolerance of harsh climatic and cultural situations
  • 'New Horizon' -
    Resistance to Dutch elm disease and tolerance of harsh growing conditions
  • Pendula' -
    Branches that show a more weeping habit
'Chinkota', 'Coolshade', 'Improved Coolshade', 'Lincoln', 'Morton Plainsman' (Vanguardâ„¢)-, 'New Horizon' -, Pendula' -
Tags:
#deciduous#invasive#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#weedy#high maintenance#air pollution tolerant#fast growing#weak wood
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Chinkota'
    Seed-produced line of extra cold-hardy trees.
  • 'Coolshade'
    Resistance to limb breakage during storms
  • 'Improved Coolshade'
    Drought tolerant, hardy, resistant to limb breakage
  • 'Lincoln'
    Resistant to Dutch elm disease
  • 'Morton Plainsman' (Vanguardâ„¢)-
    Good disease resistance and tolerance of harsh climatic and cultural situations
  • 'New Horizon' -
    Resistance to Dutch elm disease and tolerance of harsh growing conditions
  • Pendula' -
    Branches that show a more weeping habit
'Chinkota', 'Coolshade', 'Improved Coolshade', 'Lincoln', 'Morton Plainsman' (Vanguardâ„¢)-, 'New Horizon' -, Pendula' -
Tags:
#deciduous#invasive#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#weedy#high maintenance#air pollution tolerant#fast growing#weak wood
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ulmus
    Species:
    pumila
    Family:
    Ulmaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Asia, Siberia
    Distribution:
    Most of the US, especially in the west and midwest.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 50 ft. 0 in. - 70 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 40 ft. 0 in. - 70 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Fruit Type:
    Samara
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Round flat papery tan samara with 1 seed
  • Flowers:
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Description:
    Flowers develop, in drooping clusters, in the spring. Unlike other Elms, they are perfect flowers and self-pollinate.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    1-3 inch dark green leaves are oval to lanceolate and have yellow fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    The bark is a light gray-brown with irregular furrows and is often streaked with stains caused by bacterial wetwood
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Gray/Silver
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Stems are yellowish gray, glabrous or pubescent, unwinged and without a corky layer, with scattered lenticels. The round to oval winter buds dark brown to red-brown.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Slope/Bank
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Pollution
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Frequent Insect Problems
    Messy
    Weak Wood
    Weedy