Elm trees have developed a bit of a bad reputation because of Dutch elm disease. However, there are many varieties of elm trees native to North America that have shown they can stand up and fight against Dutch elm disease.
The American elm, with the help of horticulturists, is making a comeback after being almost wiped out by Dutch elm disease in the early 1900's.
The American elm tree is known by many other names such as the:
- water elm
- swamp elm
- Florida elm
- soft elm
- white elm
- gray elm
All of these different names refer to the same tree, the great American elm, which is native to the eastern area of North America. Most American Elms that survived the spread of Dutch elm disease are located in the Midwest as well as the Canadian prairie region.
When allowed to reach maturity, it can grow between 80 to 140 feet tall. The top of the tree is often described as forming a sort of umbrella.
Like the American Elm, the slippery elm is native to the eastern North America. It is often referred to as an Indian elm as well as the soft elm.
The bark on the slippery elm tree has an adhesive glue-like feeling to it. The bark is also edible and contains a lot of water.
Native Americans were the first to use the slippery elm because of its medical properties. They would chew on the bark when they were thirsty and no clean water was available. They also discovered that the elm bark was great for treating coughs, sore throats, and upset stomachs. Later, European settlers would also embrace the medical qualities of the slippery elm.
These trees can grow quite tall. When they reach maturity, they can be 132 feet tall.
The Cedar elm is particularly sturdy, and it thrives in areas with poor soil and pollution where other trees struggle to survive.
The Cedar elm, like all elm trees, goes by many different names. You may have heard it called the Texas cedar elm, southern rock elm or scrub elm. All of these names hark back to the fact that the cedar elm can grow in very dry and rocky conditions.
Like its nicknames implies, you can find the cedar elm in Texas, as well as other southern states such as Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Although Dutch elm disease can kill cedar elms, they are able to fight off the disease more easily than the American elm trees. However, mistletoe is well known for growing on, and sometimes taking over, cedar elm trees.
These trees tend to have very small leaves that are often some of the last leaves to finally change color and fall every year.
Like the cedar elm, the rock elm is also very sturdy. The wood is often described as being as hard as a rock. The bark on the tree has corky ridges and was a prized and sought after wood in the 18th and 19th century for things as small as tool handles and as large as battleships.
The rock elm grows in a relatively small area. You can primarily find the rock elm in the Great Lakes region.
It looks least like other elms. Instead of large, co-dominant limbs, the trunk dominates the rock elm. The leaves are fairly small and, if you touch the underside, feel hairy.
These trees fall right in the middle height wise. Mature rock elm trees usually reach about 80 feet in height.
Depending on where you live, one of the elm species listed above may look perfect in your yard. And when you have a mature, tall tree to take care of, be sure to call a tree service, like Noble Tree Service Inc.