Elm Tree: Key Facts

Most people have likely heard of Elm trees, whether they have any varieties present around their home or not. However, not everyone realizes how prevalent they were up until about 100 years ago.

Botanical NameUlmus
Common NamesElm tree
Type of PlantDeciduous evergreen tree
OriginVaries species are spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere
Popular Species– American Elm
– Camperdown Elm
– Cedar Elm
– English Elm
– Chinese Elm
– Cherry-Bark Elm
– Slippery Elm
– Siberian Elm
UsesFirewood, furniture, building structures, medicinal purposes (Slippery Elm) 
Sun RequirementsFull sun to part shade
Water RequirementsDrought-tolerant but prefer lightly moist soil 
Bloom TimeMid-winter – early spring
Common PestsElm bark beetle, elm leaf beetle, fall cankerworm, spring cankerworm, spiny elm caterpillar, leaf miners

The American Elm tree was once a fixture in many US towns until the population was severely impacted starting in the 1920s. 

Dutch Elm disease is caused by a beetle which spreads from tree to tree, wreaking havoc on any elm tree they can find. This has decimated many millions of several elm species that were once prolific throughout the United States and Europe.

Fortunately, researchers have achieved success in breeding hybrids that are disease-resistant, but it will take a long time to build up the population again

We can all play a part in avoiding further devastation and repopulating the species by planting disease-resistant elm species and learning about the tree and signs of disease to stop the spread. The first step is learning about these beautiful trees.

There are over 30 different elm tree species scattered throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Although they share a few common identifying features, each species is unique (including how it is used). Here is our guide on how to distinguish elm trees from ash trees.

To learn more about how to identify trees in the elm family, check out this video:

Read also about other forest trees – here are our guides about Maple, Oak, Pine.

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