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American Elm

American Elm Tree
Historical American elms line the Mall and the Park’s Perimeter along Fifth Avenue. In fact, the Mall is home to one of the largest and last remaining stands of American elm trees in North America. Central Park Conservancy monitors the trees for Dutch elm disease, a devastating fungus spread by elm bark beetles that has wiped out large numbers of elms worldwide. In addition, the Conservancy plants elm cultivars that are resistant to the disease whenever possible. American elms tend to have twisting, upper branches that form an elegant silhouette against the winter sky. This can be one way to distinguish an American elm from its European cousins. Elms tend to have shallow root systems and the trees are easily stressed, or even damaged, by soil compaction. This is why many of the Park’s elm trees, including those along the Mall, are fenced in. We thank you for helping us protect these living treasures by staying on the outside of this protective fencing.

Common Name: American Elm

Scientific Name: Ulmus americana

Origin: Eastern North America, from Florida to Newfoundland

Family: Ulmaceae

Size: 60 - 90' tall

Form: Vase shape most common

Culture: Easily transplanted; pH adaptable; prefers moist, fertile soil; prune September to October; salt tolerant


3 - 6"; alternate arrangement; doubly sharp, saw-like edges; pubescent underside; oblique leaf base; dark green; no terminal bud


No ornamental value


Greenish-yellow rounded samaras, notched at top, ripen May-June


Dark gray, deep ridges, pubescent reddish stems