How tall do elm trees grow


How Fast Do Elms Grow And How Long Do They Live? [By Type Of Elm]

Are you interested in planting an elm tree? If you are, you may be wondering how fast elm trees grow and how long they live. We've looked into the growth rate and the life expectancy of elms and have some answers for you. 

The average growth rate of American elm trees ranges from three to six feet per year. This range indicates that American elms grow quickly, as their annual growth exceeds 25 inches, which is the requirement that trees must meet to be considered fast-growing. The average life expectancy of American elms is 300 years. 

The growth rate and life expectancy mentioned above do not apply to all elm trees because there are numerous elm species, and growth rate and life expectancy vary from species to species. Keep reading to learn about the different growth rates and life expectancies of six common and beautiful elms, and learn how differences in elm species affect the maturity, size, and care of the trees.

How Many Species of Elm Tree are There?

There are roughly 35 different species of the elm tree. The great variation in elm species accounts for many differences among the trees, including leaf size, leaf texture, height, and the type of environment each tree requires for survival. Six common elm species include: 

  • The Camperdown Elm Tree
  • The Cedar Elm Tree 
  • The Cherry Bark Elm Tree
  • The Chinese Elm Tree
  • The European White Elm Tree
  • The Rock Elm Tree

Camperdown Elm Tree

The Camperdown elm, which originated in the United Kingdom, has twisted branches that arch toward the ground, giving it a weeping appearance. The growth rate of the Camperdown Elm is about two feet per year. When it is fully mature, the Camperdown reaches about 20 feet in height. The Camperdown's width reaches about 30 feet once the tree hits full maturity, exceeding the tree's height. The life expectancy of the Camperdown is 150 years or longer. 

Cedar Elm Tree 

Native to the Southern United States, the Cedar Elm bears the smallest leaves of any species of elm tree. The growth rate of the Cedar Elm ranges from one foot to three feet per year. At peak maturity, the Cedar Elm reaches 50 to 70 feet tall. The average life span for this southern elm is 100 years. 

Cherry Bark Elm Tree

The Cherry Bark Elm is native to Eastern Asia and the Himalayas, and it has a round, bush-like shape. Cherry Bark Elms grow anywhere from 60 to 80 feet tall after they experience peak maturity. Like the Cedar Elm, the life span of the Cherry Bark Elm is around 100 years. 

Chinese Elm Tree

The Chinese Elm, also known as the Lacebark Elm, is native to China, Vietnam, North Korea, and Japan. This elm has a round shape, and it can still thrive even after pruning, which is why it is commonly used as a bonsai tree. The annual growth rate of the Chinese Elm is about three feet, and when it is fully grown, it will be about 40 to 60 feet in height. The average life span of the Chinese Elm varies a bit, ranging from 50 to 150 years. 

European White Elm Tree

As you probably guessed, the European White Elm is native to central and southeast Europe. One of the most distinctive features of this tree is its open crown. The European White Elm typically grow to about 100 feet tall after they are fully mature—taller than any of the other previously mentioned elm trees. 

Rock Elm Tree

The Rock Elm is native to the Midwestern United States. You may also hear this tree called the Cork Elm because it has corky branches. Following full maturity, the height of this tree can range from 50 to 100 feet. The life span of the Rock Elm is an estimated 300 years, which is the longest lifespan of all the elms on this list!

How Long Does an Elm Tree Take to Mature?

Much like growth rate and life expectancy, the length of time it takes an elm tree to mature depends on the species of elm tree. Some elm trees mature faster than others because they have a faster yearly growth rate. For example, the Chinese Elm—which has a yearly growth rate of three feet—reaches maturity in about 20 years, meaning that it matures relatively quickly. However, the length of time it takes a slower-growing elm to mature may be a bit longer.

How Big Do Elm Trees Get? 

The size of elm trees is another factor that depends on elm tree species. One of the biggest elm tree species, the English Elm, can grow to 130 feet tall and spread to 50 feet wide. Conversely, one of the smallest elm tree species, the Frontier Elm, grows to about 30 feet tall and spreads to about 30 feet wide. So, as you can see, the species plays a major role in elm size!

Other factors that play a role in the size of elm trees include the type of soil the elm is planted in and the amount of sun to which it is exposed. Elm trees grow the best when they are planted in moist soil and are exposed to full sun or partial shade. So, if an elm tree isn't planted in the proper soil or exposed to the proper amount of sunlight, it probably won't grow as big as it should.  

Are Elm Trees Easy to Care For? 

There are natural characteristics of elm trees that make them fairly easy to care for. For example, elm trees are very adaptable plants; they prefer moist soil, but they can also adapt to wet or dry soil. In addition, elm trees easily endure city environments, making them good trees to line an urban street. 

After planting an elm tree, the steps involved in maintaining it are fairly simple. Directly after planting any type of elm tree, you will want to mulch it, as mulch helps the soil retain moisture.

Click here to see a mulch specifically for elm trees at Amazon. 

Be sure to water young elm trees when they haven't received enough water from rainfall, and fertilize young elms every spring.

Click here to see a fertilizer that you can use for elms at Amazon. 

One thing that can make elm trees very difficult to take care of is Dutch Elm Disease. Dutch Elm Disease is a vascular wilt disease that first appeared in elm trees in the 1930s. It is spread by elm bark beetles, which carry the disease from infected trees to noninfected trees. Dutch Elm Disease is highly lethal. 

Although Dutch Elm Disease makes caring for elms difficult, there are some things you can do to combat the disease. One thing you can do to prevent Dutch Elm Disease is water your trees in the absence of rain. Pruning your trees every few years can also help prevent the disease. 

In Closing 

The average growth rate of American Elm trees is three to six feet per year, and the average life expectancy of American Elms is 300 years. However, many different elm species exist, and this growth rate and life expectancy vary based on species. Elm species also helps determine when an elm will reach maturity and how big the elm will get. Remember that elm species are fairly easy to take care of, unless they become infected with Dutch Elm Disease, which is a major threat. 

With this information about growth rates, life expectancies, and caring for elm trees, you should be set to add an elm to your yard!

Midwest Gardening — Trees Index

American Elm is also known as White Elm, Water Elm, Soft Elm, Gray Elm, American Weeping Elm, Swamp Elm or Florida Elm

Ulmus americana American Elm

  • Zones: 2-9

  • Sun, tolerates light shade

  • Height:  80-100’

  • Spread:  60-120’

  • Shape:  Broad to upright vase shaped crown

  • Growth Rate:  Fast when young, moderate as it matures

  • Soil Preference:  Tolerant of clay, loam or sand, preferring alkaline pH

  • Moisture:  Average moisture needs, high drought tolerance

  • Foliage:  Dark green, serrated

  • Blooms:  Inconspicuous small green flowers in early spring

  • Fruit:  Flat round green seed pods, turning papery brown

 

 

American Elm may once have been the most widely used landscape and street tree in North America before Dutch Elm disease devastated its’ population.   Although sometimes difficult to find, disease resistant specimens are available through cloning and hybridizing.  The easy to grow, very hardy and tolerant tree will live for 300 years or more.  American Elm is a highly desirable shade tree with moderately dense foliage and a symmetrical crown in a broad or upright vase shape.  When used as a street tree, shallow roots may displace sidewalks.  It grows quickly when young, and at a more moderate rate as it matures.  As with most fast growing trees, the American Elm’s wood is weak and susceptible to breakage.  Pruning when young will help to develop a stronger structure.    Once a strong crotch has developed, prune off all branches below the crotch.  Also prune off all branches at any level that grows at a wide angle, preserving only upright growing branches.  If pruned diligently in the first ten years, a strong structure and vase shape should maintain itself.  The trunk will naturally divide into several large ascending limbs, producing gracefully drooping branchlets.

The American Elm is very well suited to cold climates, and is very tolerant of difficult conditions including drought, compacted soil, poor drainage and air pollution, and has a good tolerance to soil salt.  It does prefer full sun in rich well drained soil, and will not grow as well in sand and drought or wet soil.  The health of an American Elm should be consistently monitored for signs of disease.  In addition to Dutch Elm disease, the elm may be afflicted with pests including bark beetles, gypsy moth, elm borer, mites and scales. Leaf beetles my consume large quantities of foliage, but will not necessarily damage the tree itself.  Elm saplings are also one of deer’s favorite foods, so protect young elm trees or use a repellant.  Maintaining an elm’s good health is essential.  Elms transplant and establish fairly easily, ideally plant in rich soil with a pH of 6 or 7, full sun, and regularly water deeply until well established.  Sprinkle a granular fertilizer in the root zone each fall, using a ratio of 5-10-5 or 5-10-10.   Use a bark mulch (wood chip mulches absorb soil nitrogen) and do not smother the base of the trunk with deep mulch.

Insignificant flowers appear in early spring just before the leaves open.  Small 1/2-1” round green seed pods follow, maturing quickly and eventually the wafer like pod turns dry brown.  Seeds do not develop until the tree is at least 15 years old.  Birds and wildlife enjoy the seeds, but large amounts are sometimes produced causing a mess on flat hard surfaces.  Leaves turn a pleasant yellow in autumn.

 

Ulmus americana ‘Valley Forge’

  • Zones: 5-7, perhaps zone 4

  • Sun, tolerates light shade

  • Height:  60-80’, can reach up to 110’

  • Spread:  One-half to two-thirds the height

  • Shape:  Classic American Elm form, broadly vase shaped

  • Growth Rate:  Fast

  • Soil Preference:  Adaptable to poor soil conditions and tolerates road salt.

  • Moisture:  Average moisture needs, with high drought tolerance

  • Foliage:  Full dense canopy with lustrous dark green leaves, turning yellow in fall

  • Blooms:  Inconspicuous small green flowers in early spring

  • Fruit:  Flat round green seed pods, turning papery brown

‘Valley Forge’ is a pure ‘American Elm’ cultivar developed from seedling and shows high resistance to Dutch Elm disease, matching even the Asian elm to resistance.  Along with ‘New Harmony’, they are the first commercially available Dutch Elm disease tolerant American elm trees, although neither is immune and may sometimes be difficult to find at retail nurseries.  Several mail order nurseries have them available.  These trees are wonderful selections for the home landscape, as they are also very tolerant of poor soil conditions, drought and air pollution.  ‘Valley Forge’ like the ‘American Elm’, is very adaptable to adverse climate conditions that can sometimes be fatal to oak, maple and other popular trees.   Tolerance to road deicing salt makes this tree an excellent candidate for street and boulevard trees, however shallow roots may displace sidewalks. 

‘Valley Forge’ grows quickly, to 26’ and a 30’ crown spread in twelve years.  Once established, growth rate can be as much as 3 feet per year.  The ‘American Elm’ form is preserved in this cultivar with a broad vase shape and upright branches giving way to arching branchlets.  As with the ‘American Elm’, crotch and structure weakness can be strengthened with pruning when young.  Once a strong crotch has developed, prune off all branches below the crotch.  Also prune off all branches at any level that grows at a wide angle, preserving only upright growing branches.  If pruned diligently in the first ten years, a strong structure and vase shape should maintain itself.

Maintaining an elm’s good health is essential.  Elms transplant and establish fairly easily, ideally plant in rich soil with a pH of 6 or 7, full sun, and regularly water deeply until well established.   Sprinkle a granular fertilizer in the root zone each fall, using a ratio of 5-10-5 or 5-10-10.  Use a bark mulch (wood chip mulches absorb soil nitrogen) and do not smother the base of the trunk with deep mulch   Elm saplings are also one of deer’s favorite foods, so protect young elm trees or use a repellant.

Ulmus american ‘New Harmony’

  • Zones: 4b-7, perhaps zone 4a

  • Sun, tolerates light shade

  • Height:  68’

  • Spread:  72’

  • Shape:  Broadly V-shaped

  • Growth Rate:  Fast

  • Soil Preference:  Adaptable to poor soil conditions and tolerates road salt.

  • Moisture:  Average moisture needs, high drought tolerance

  • Foliage:  Dark glossy green, turning yellow in fall

  • Blooms:  Inconspicuous small green flowers in early spring

  • Fruit:  Flat round green seed pods, turning papery brown

‘New Harmony’ is a pure ‘American Elm’ cultivar developed from seedling and shows nearly as high a resistance to Dutch Elm disease as ‘Valley Forge’, matching even the Asian elm to resistance.   Along with ‘Valley Forge’, they are the first commercially available Dutch Elm disease tolerant’ American Elm’ trees, although neither is immune and may sometimes be difficult to find at retail nurseries.    Several mail order nurseries have them available.  These trees are wonderful selections for the home landscape, as they are also very tolerant of poor soil conditions, drought and air pollution.    Tolerance to road deicing salt makes this tree an excellent candidate for street and boulevard trees, however shallow roots may displace sidewalks. 

The trees grows quickly, once established will grow as much as 3 feet per year.  The crown is broadly V-shaped with limb branches producing slender, somewhat drooping branches.  As with the ‘American Elm’, crotch and structure weakness can be strengthened with pruning when young.  Once a strong crotch has developed, prune off all branches below the crotch.  Also prune off all branches at any level that grows at a wide angle, preserving only upright growing branches.   If pruned diligently in the first ten years, a strong structure and vase shape should maintain itself.

Maintaining an elm’s good health is essential.  Elms transplant and establish fairly easily, ideally plant in rich soil with a pH of 6 or 7, full sun, and regularly water deeply until well established.  Sprinkle a granular fertilizer in the root zone each fall, using a ratio of 5-10-5 or 5-10-10.  Use a bark mulch (wood chip mulches absorb soil nitrogen) and do not smother the base of the trunk with deep mulch.  Elm saplings are also one of deer’s favorite foods, so protect young elm trees or use a repellant.

Ulmus americana ‘Princeton’

  • Zones: 3-9

  • Sun, tolerates light shade

  • Height:  60-100’’

  • Spread:  40-60’

  • Shape:  Vase shaped

  • Growth Rate:  Fast

  • Soil Preference:  Adaptable to poor soil conditions and tolerates road salt.

  • Moisture:  Average moisture needs, high drought tolerance

  • Foliage:  Dark green large leathery leaves, turning yellow in fall

  • Blooms:  Inconspicuous small green flowers in early spring

  • Fruit:  Flat round green seed pods, turning papery brown

 

This 80 year old cultivar has thrived in the streets of New Jersey and has an extremely wide range of habitat, growing easily throughout Eastern and Central North America.  Being very adaptable, it will also do well to the west coast and in the Southwest.  ‘Princeton’s’ disease tolerance is comparable to ‘Valley Forge’, showing moderate to high resistance to Dutch Elm disease as well as elm leaf beetle.  A true American Elm, ‘Princeton’ is produced from cuttings to preserve its’ classic attributes.  It’s crown exhibits the classic vase shape, is dense and symmetrical with upright branches.

Like the other American elms, ‘Princeton’ is tolerant of road salt and urban conditions, serving well as a shade tree or boulevard tree.   It is one of the most tolerant and adaptable of the American elms, growing well in frigid zone 3 and has proven to also do well as far north as zone 2, as well as dry regions to zone 9 and wet regions.  Harsh pollution does not bother ‘Princeton’ other than sulfur dioxide pollution, making it an excellent choice in cities.  A ‘Princeton’ elm tree will live well over 150 years.  As with the American elms above, monitor branching habit and prune accordingly when young to promote strong crotch and structure, feed and mulch to maintain health as also noted above.

Ulmus americana ‘Jefferson’

The ‘Jefferson’ elm is a newer introduction, 2005, which is not yet available to the public but may be by 2009 or 2010.  ‘Jefferson’ grows in the classic American elm vase shape reaching nearly 70’ tall.  Broad U-shaped branch unions differ from the American elm, and the leaves turn dark green earlier in spring and stay dark through fall.  Pollution tolerance makes it a good street tree and it is very adaptable.   It is still being tested and has shown outstanding resistance to Dutch Elm Disease.  ‘Jefferson’ elm is hardy in zones 5-7.  More information will be added as it is available.

TreesSharon Dwyer

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Elm-ulmus: description, growing conditions and care

Elm - Ulmus

Elm is a small genus, includes about 15 species growing in the temperate zones of Europe, North America and Asia. Most of them are large, tall trees with a spreading, rounded dense crown. The leaves are alternate, simple, rather large, more often variegated. Plants bloom before the leaves bloom; the flowers are inconspicuous, have no decorative value. Fruits - winged nuts, appear shortly after flowering. Although some types of elm are little known to a wide range of gardeners, nevertheless, the culture is actively used in green building.

Throughout the European part of Russia, in Western Siberia, the Caucasus, as well as in Western Europe, Kazakhstan, the smooth elm, or common elm (U. laevis), grows everywhere. In nature, it settles in broad-leaved forests on nutrient-rich soils. This is a large, about 25 m high tree with a wide, oval crown and thin, picturesque hanging branches. The bark of mature trees peels off in thin sheets. The leaves are rounded, large, about 12 cm long, unequal-sided at the base; they are dark green above, much lighter below; in autumn they turn yellowish-purple. The flowers are small, on long pedicels, brownish with protruding purple anthers. The fruits are lionfish. The species grows rapidly; relatively shade-tolerant; tolerates a haircut; drought-resistant, but develops on deeply cultivated nutrient soils; lives up to 250-300 years. Winter hardiness is high. Zone 3.

One of the most widespread wild elm (U. carpinifolia) grows everywhere in broad-leaved forests of the European part of Russia, in the Crimea, the Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, Western Europe and even in northern Africa.


This light-loving tree under natural conditions does not exceed 20 m in height, has a dense, sprawling, wide (about 10 m) crown. The leaves are relatively small, no more than 10-12 cm long, dense, shiny, unequal, dark green; turn bright yellow in autumn. Small reddish-red flowers are collected in bunches. The species is undemanding to soils, but develops well on deeply cultivated, nutritious soils; cuts well; in nature lives up to 300 years, in culture it is less durable; winter hardiness is good, but at winter temperatures below 28’C, the tops of young shoots freeze over. Zone 5A. Garden forms of this species are more susceptible to the harmful effects of low temperatures and require protected places.

The most well-known and popular form is “Wredei” (“Wreed”) - a tree 8-10 m high with a compact, dense, narrow-columnar crown, making it suitable for use in small gardens. But not only this makes the elm popular, its leaves with wavy edges are unusually spectacular. When blooming, they are light green or chartreuse, later becoming golden yellow, in autumn - the color of old gold. The variety is demanding on fertility and soil moisture; Grows best in full shade. Winter hardiness is moderate. Zone 5A.

Relatively low, not more than 15 m in height, dwarf or small-leaved elm or Ilmovik (U.pumila = parvifolia) originates from East Asian regions. It occurs in mixed and broad-leaved forests of Transbaikalia, the south of the Far East, in Northern Mongolia, in Korea, and Japan.


Elm often grows as a tall shrub; crown - rounded, dense with thin shoots. The leaves are really small, 2-5 cm long, leathery, slightly unequal, green, turning olive-yellow by autumn. Elm develops moderately fast; undemanding, grows on any garden soil, but growth rates are higher on nutrient soils; drought-resistant; tolerates a haircut; photophilous; winter hardiness is moderate. Zone 5.

In broad-leaved and mixed coniferous-broad-leaved forests on the territory of the European part of Russia, in Central Europe, in Scandinavia, in the Balkans, in Asia Minor, rough elm, or mountain elm (U. scarba = glabra) is often found.


In nature, the tree grows up to 30-35 m in height; crown - dense, rounded, wide. The bark is smooth, dark brown. The leaves are very large, up to 15-17 cm long, dark green, rough on top; autumn - yellow. Inconspicuous flowers are collected in spherical bunches. Lionfish - large, green. The tree grows quickly, especially at a young age; demanding on the nutritional composition of the soil, prefers calcareous; moisture-loving, but at the same time - drought-resistant; shade-tolerant; lives up to 300 years; tolerates a haircut; winter hardiness is high. Zone 3.

Garden forms of scotch elm are more commonly used in cultivation.

Camperdownii is a 3-4 m high tree with a wide, domed weeping crown. With age, the tree grows more and more in breadth and requires a lot of space. The leaves are very large, up to 20-22 cm long, dark green; autumn - yellow. The plant is photophilous, but puts up with a little shading; prefers light nutrient soils; winter hardiness is high. Zone 4.

“Pendula” (“Pendula”) is a low tree, no more than 4-5 m in height, grafted onto a trunk.


The crown is dense, wide, spreading, cup-shaped, up to 8-10 m in diameter with drooping shoots, giving the plant a weeping appearance. Grows slowly; demanding on soil fertility; shade-tolerant; frost-resistant, but sometimes the ends of young, poorly ripened shoots freeze slightly. Zone 4-5A.

Growing conditions. Elms are photophilous, but many tolerate light shading well. When planting trees in the garden, it should be borne in mind that most have a wide, dense crown, giving a thick shadow.

Reproduction. They reproduce well by seeds that germinate after 2-3 months of stratification.

Use. Single and group plantings, creation of alleys, forest areas of the garden, free-growing and trimmed hedges.

Author: N. Kuznetsova

Ginkgo is actively used for greening European cities.

description, photo, useful properties and application. Where Elm Grows

In the distance, a domed green crown could be seen above the forest. The slender, stately fellow Elm stood at the edge of the forest. Strong roots, thick as hooks, clung to the soil. Firmly and confidently, the tree knight came to the defense of the age-old forest.

The image of an elm

In Russia, it was believed that Elm branches bring not only good luck, but also give courage and strength to a faithful traveler on a long journey.

In Christianity Elm symbolizes dignity and is a sacred tree.

For many peoples, this strong elm tree was a symbol of mother and birth, the transition to a new life.

For the English, an Elm branch with a vine is a sign of faithful lovers.

names of elm

Elm got its name from the characteristics of the wood. The fact is that in the old days sledges, rims and much more were “knitted” from the bast of a tree. Bast was mined from the subcortical bast layer.

The Latin name for the tree is Ulmus. According to one version, it comes from the ancient Celtic word elm.

The tree has many names. The most common names are Ilm, Berest and Karagach.

What Elm looks like

Elm is a tall, slender tree of the elm family. The tree has a smooth bark, strong roots and a domed crown of dense large leaves.

Common Elm (or Smooth Elm) is the most widespread in Russia. This tree reaches 25 meters in height. The girth of the trunk can exceed one and a half meters.

The bark is light brown in color and begins to flake off old trees. The wrinkled old Elms resemble the wise old men who keep the knowledge of mankind.

Smooth Elm lives an average of 300 years, while its counterparts are found much older.

Elmfruit is a small lionfish with a nut in the center. They can be used in carpentry, folk medicine and even cooking.

Where the Elm grows

There are about 16 species of Elm. It is found in Western Siberia and Kazakhstan, in the Southern Urals, in the Caucasus and the Volga region, as well as in European countries and even in Scandinavia.

Species growing in Central Asia are called "Karagach".

Elm prefers fertile soil, reaching large sizes with proper care. Despite this, in natural conditions, Elm can easily endure drought and floods. In addition, Elm is a hardy tree.

Due to its ability to retain dust, Elm is often used as a barrier plantation. A large and massive trunk with a dense crown often becomes an integral part of parks and gardens.

In nature, Elm is found in broad-leaved forests, along the banks of rivers and lakes, rarely forming pure stands.

When Elm blossoms

Elm blossoms in March or April only 10 days a year with small purple flowers. Fruit nuts ripen in May - June.

Medicinal properties of Elm

Bark, fruits, leaves are used in folk medicine.

A decoction of Elm bark has astringent and diuretic properties and is used in bowel diseases. It is also used to treat rheumatism and edema, as well as skin problems.

The bark extract is used medicinally as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent.

Industrial applications of Elm

Elm wood is durable and flexible. It often replaces expensive breeds, being successfully dyed.

Karagach is a favorite wood of cabinetmakers. Its dark brown wood is valued in the manufacture of curved furniture and in the set of paintings from veneer in marquetry. The veneer of tree roots is especially appreciated - the so-called butt part.

In addition, Elm wood is moisture resistant and was often used in the past in the construction of bridges and dams.

Elm bark is used for tanning and dyeing due to its high tannin content.

Elm is often used in parks and gardens despite pest problems attacking these beautiful trees. The dense crown of the Elm allows you to cut the plant into bizarre shapes.

elm - Contraindications

When using Elm extracts in the treatment, a specialist should be consulted.


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