Ulmus americana

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American Elm


Also known as Ulmus floridana

Plant Specifics

Size:60-70 ft tall in Florida by 20-40 ft wide
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:Green,NA
Fruit Color:Brown,NA
Phenology:Deciduous. Inconspicuous blooms in early spring. Life span around 150 yrs (Nelson 2003).
Noted for:Fall color, Interesting foliage


Recommended Uses:Shade tree, used as a street tree noted for its spreading urn-shaped crown. Tolerant of root disturbance.
Considerations:While Dutch elm disease has not been detected in Florida (IFAS, 2018), the planting practices that result in massive losses of street trees north of Florida (planting in rows along strees esp. where root graphs could occur) would be good to avoid.
Propagation:Seed or cuttings.
Availability:Native nurseries, Quality nurseries
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry)
Moisture Tolerance: Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray
Soil or other substrate:Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH:Acidic to circum-neutral



Seeds used by birds in spring when little else is available.

Used for nesting. 


Larval host for: Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma), Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Native Habitats:Floodplain forest, wet mesic forests, hardwood swamps.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


General Comments:This tree is subject to Dutch elm disease. Dutch elm disease has not been detected in Florida (IFAS 2008). In most of eastern North America, this tree has largely disappeared from landscape use due to mass mortality from Dutch elm disease.