At Above and Beyond Tree Service we have a deep-rooted passion, devotion, and respect for trees. We are inspired by their beauty, strength, power, and their indelible role in our community and the environment. We want to share our passion for trees with you through our educational blog series, Tree Facts, to hopefully inspire you too. This series offers information we hope you’ll find useful on a different species of tree each month, focusing on trees you might find in your own backyard and neighborhood here in Northeast Florida.
Scientific name: Ulmus Americana
Also known as: White elm, water elm, soft elm, common elm
Size: 80-120 feet tall, 2-5 feet in diameter
Lifespan: Approximately 150 years
Characteristics: The American elm has a vase-shaped form with a trunk that divides into several erect limbs. It’s leaves are 4-6 inches long, 2-3 inches wide, and have an oval to elliptical shape
Blooming period: February-April
Habitat: American elms prefer moist soil in bottom lands, alluvial flats, margins of streams, ponds and lakes.
Location: Found throughout the eastern half of the U.S. down to Central Florida and over to Texas. They are also found in Canada.
What you should know: The American Elm has long been a popular choice to line streets and avenues around the U.S. as an ornamental and shade tree.
Uses: American Elm wood is used for kitchenette furniture, flooring, baskets, and wooden ware. Because American Elm wood can be easily bent when steamed it is also used to make barrels and baskets. Elm wood burns slowly and is difficult to split because of its spiral grain. When burned over an open fire it has a foul odor.
When you should trim: It’s best to trim the American Elm between September and March to avoid elm bark beetles, which can cause Dutch Elm Disease.
History: American elms were the predominant landscape tree in the Northeast until the fungal Dutch Elm Disease was introduced in the 1930s from elm bark beetles, killing off millions of the trees and lowering the species average lifespan. As part of ongoing restoration efforts, however, research has led to the deployment of an American Elm that is more tolerant of the fungus.
State tree: Massachusetts and North Dakota
Fun fact: George Washington was particularly fond of the species and planted many at Mount Vernon, some of which are supposedly still alive today. Massachusetts is home to two famous elm trees. The Washington Elm is supposedly the site where George Washington took over command of the American Continental Army and the Liberty Tree was supposedly the site for American resistance towards England.