American elm (Ulmus americana)

American elm leaves are small

American elm is a deciduous tree, which can reach an impressive height if the conditions are right. In addition, it grows quite fast and casts a lot of shade, so it is a very interesting option if you need a plant that meets these characteristics.

But, before deciding whether to buy it or not, it is very important to know her a little, since that is the only way to know if it is really the plant you are looking for, or not.

Where does the American elm originate?

American elm is a deciduous tree

Image – Wikimedia/Marty Aligata

Our protagonist is a tree native to eastern North America, from Canada to Florida. It grows in almost any type of terrain, as long as it does not lack water. In addition, we are talking about a tree that resists frost without any problem, as well as copious snowfalls; and high temperatures do not harm it too much.

Their life expectancy can be very long, about 300 years. The problem is that it is sensitive to graphiosis, so in areas where this disease is present, it lives much less.

What are their characteristics?

The American elm, whose scientific name is american ulmus, It is a deciduous tree that can exceed 30 meters in height reaching 40 meters, and which develops a thick trunk of 1-2 meters in diameter. The crown is very wide and is made up of a large number of branches from which leaves about 15 centimeters long with serrated margins sprout. These are green, but in the fall they turn yellow and then brown before falling from the tree.

Its flowers can self-pollinate, since they have female and male parts. These sprout in spring, before the leaves sprout. The fruit is a small samara, 2 centimeters long, composed of a wing that surrounds the seed.

Does it have any use?

We talk about a plant very decorative, with which it is very easy to have a beautiful rustic garden. It is not excessively demanding as we will see later, and since it also gives a lot of shade, it is interesting to plant it in an isolated way in order to be able to admire it better.

The only downside is that has very strong and invasive roots. This means that it is not a recommended tree for small gardens, since to avoid problems it should be planted about ten meters from pipes, paved floors, walls, and anything else that could break.

What are the care you need?

American elm is a large plant

Image – Wikimedia/Marty Aligata

It is a tree that does not need much care; in fact, we do not need to give it any if we plant it in the ground and if we also live in an area where it usually rains frequently. But things get complicated if it rains very little, since in that case it will have to be watered for at least the first year so that it takes root well.

Likewise, we will have to be a little aware of it if we grow it in a pot, since having a very limited space and amount of land, it could dehydrate quickly. Therefore, we are going to talk about what its needs are and how to take care of it:


the american elm has to be located outside, not only because it is a plant that can grow very large, but also because it needs it. You have to feel the passing of the seasons, the cold, the heat, the wind and the rain; In addition, it requires direct exposure to the sun. Inside a house, or any building, maybe it would be fine for a few months (spring-summer), but it would soon weaken and die.


  • the garden: it is highly, highly recommended to plant it in the ground as soon as possible, even the same day we buy it; or if it is a seedling, as soon as it measures a minimum of 20 centimeters in height. The land must drain the water well, that is, in case it rains heavily, puddles do not form (or if they do, the water is absorbed quickly).
  • Flower pot: in the event that you are going to have it in a pot, you can put a universal culture substrate that contains perlite, such as this.


As long as it doesn't rain It will be necessary to water every 2 or 3 days in summer, and every 4-6 days the rest of the year. You have to water well, conscientiously. If it is in a pot, water must be poured until it comes out through the drainage holes; and if he is in the garden, he will lie down until he sees that the earth is soaked.

As well it is recommended to irrigate with rainwater. This is the best that plants can receive, the purest. But since it doesn't rain the same everywhere, in many places it will be difficult to get it. For this reason, we recommend taking out buckets or other containers when it rains, so that once the rain ends, bottles can be filled with this water that will later be used for irrigation; and at times when it is not available, irrigate with water whose pH is less than 8, or in other words, that is slightly acidic, or slightly alkaline.


American elm sprouts in spring

Image – Wikimedia/Melissa McMasters

It is advisable to pay it in spring and summer, with fertilizers such as mulch or guano (for sale here!). Also, if you make homemade compost, it will do very well if you put a little around the trunk.


the american elm multiplies by seeds. In spring, you have to sow them in a pot with holes in its base, with a universal growing substrate. Bury them a bit, and water. Then, you have to put them outside, in full sun.


It is sensitive to the attack of:

  • Augers: See file.
  • Mealybugs: See file.
  • Elm Galeruca
  • Defoliator caterpillars
  • Trunk drills


As for diseases, you can have the following:

  • Trunk caries
  • Bark Cankers: See file.
  • Elm graphiosis: See file.
  • Fungal Leaf Spots


El american ulmus it resists frosts down to -40ºC. Likewise, it also supports heat of up to 35-40ºC if it has water.

The American elm is an imposing and very beautiful tree, don't you think?

The content of the article adheres to our principles of editorial ethics. To report an error click here!.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.



  1. Responsible for the data: Miguel Ángel Gatón
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.