American Elm

American elm (Ulmus americana)


American elms are one of a number of elms native to North America. At one time American elms grew throughout the forests of North America and were planted as street, boulevard and lawn trees. In the early 1930’s the disease Dutch elm disease was documented in the United States and elm trees were lost in great numbers and continue to die from the disease.

Hardiness- zones 2 through 9

Growth Rate- moderate to rapid

Mature Shape- upright, spreading, and vase-shaped canopy

Height- 75 to 125 feet

Width- 60 to 120 feet

Site Requirements- American elms grow best in full sun to part shade and moist well drained soils. Elms are adaptable to adverse soil conditions.

Features- Planted widely for their rapid growth, high canopy and dense shade, Dutch elm disease has drastically reduced American elm populations throughout North America.

Recommended Varieties for Iowa- American elm trees are not recommended for planting. Varieties resistant to Dutch elm disease are available, but they are resistant, not immune. See the following links for publications on Dutch elm disease and varieties that are resistant to the disease.

For more information, pictures and the distribution of American elm in Iowa please see Forestry Extension, Trees of Iowa: An Interactive Key.


Dutch Elm Disease SUL4 (pdf)