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Zones 2-9, 14-21
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Moderate

Ulmus hybrids

Elm
Ulmaceae
Deciduous, Trees

ULMUS

Once highly prized shade trees, elms have fallen on hard times. Dutch elm disease (spread by a bark beetle) has killed millions of American elms in North America and can attack most other elm species. Many of the larger elms are appealing fare for various types of aphids, beetles, leafhoppers, and scale, making them time-consuming to care for, messy, or both. Elms have other problems not related to pests. They have aggressive, shallow root systems, so you’ll have trouble growing other plants beneath them. Many produce suckers; branch crotches are often narrow, splitting easily in storms. Still, elms are widely planted, and researchers continue to devote much effort to finding disease-resistant varieties. Elms tolerate a wide range of soils. Poor yellow fall color except as noted.

Ulmus hybrids

Many institutions have been carrying on breeding experiments involving various elms to produce trees resistant to Dutch elm disease. Among them, ‘Accolade’ has the best track record so far; it grows to 70 ft. tall and 60 ft. wide, with arching limbs and a vase shape much like that of American elm. ‘Danada Charm’ has a similar size and shape but is ganglier in youth. ‘Frontier’, just 40 ft. tall and 30 ft. wide, features reddish purple leaves in fall. ‘Homestead’, to 55 ft. tall and 35 ft. wide, has a symmetrical oval to pyramidal form. ‘Patriot’ forms a narrow vase shape to 50 ft. tall and half as wide. ‘Triumph’ grows to 55 ft. tall and 50 ft. wide; it forms an upright oval with a strong central leader.

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