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Home Page | Selecting Trees for Biodiversity | Elm Family

Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila)

This large, relatively fast growing asiatic elm has resistance to Dutch elm disease elm yellows (phloem necrosis), but is susceptible to elm leaf beetle. The urban tolerance of this plant is well known. The plant is considered unnatractive by many due to it's ragged habit and loss of branches from breakage. It also has escape potential and is becoming established as a pioneer invader species in many areas, particularly disturbed sites. Wound response of the trees is quite excellent, and it tolerates a wide range of drainage conditions from wet to dry. While it is unlikely that urban foresters will rush out to plant Siberian elms, there may be a place for these trees in exceptionally difficult urban situations, and as a member of the elm family will increase biodiversity in many areas.

The Siberian elms pictured below are planted in a grassy median strip near The Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio. The median is slightly depressed, poorly drained and there is no curb. Pedestrian traffic is infrequent. Salt accumulates in the area during the winter, cars tend to hit the trees on a frequent basis, and soil compaction is also a problem. Many other trees would fail in this situation, however the siberian elms have proven up to the task and continue to recover from stress and vehicle damage, providing shade where otherwise there would be none. In an exceptionally difficult situation like this, the Siberian elm may be a good option.

For More Information, check out the Virginia Tech Dendrology Page.

Siberian Elms, Columbus, Ohio
Siberian Elms, Winter habit, Columbus, Ohio.
(If you have a photo of these trees in an urban environment that you would like to donate for use on this site, please contact the webmaster.)

Shade Tree Home Page
T. Davis Sydnor, Ph. D. and Nick E. D'Amato
Urban Forestry Department
School of Natural Resources
The Ohio State University
2021 Coffey Road,
Columbus OH 43210
(614) 292-3865