Planting Elm

Both American Elms and Chinese Elms are very adaptable to almost any soil, wet or dry, sun or partial shade, and they are very easy to transplant at any size. Ideally they prefer soil that is rich, slightly acid to neutral (6.5 to 7.5), moist and well drained. The new American Elm will grow almost anywhere in the United States except in southern Florida. Lacebark Elms grow comfortably as far north the Great Lakes and northern New York. Along the Atlantic coast they will grow up to Maine (zone 5A). They can handle winter temperatures as low as -10 to -20° F.

Early spring or early fall is the best time for your young elm to become established, when temperatures are lower and rainfall is more abundant. A fall-planted tree will arrive near or completely dormant, but its root system will continue growing until the ground freezes.

Select trees with branches spaced along one trunk, unless you want a multi-stemmed tree. It is not essential that this trunk be straight. Trees which have a trunk less than about two inches in diameter often require staking and some early pruning to prevent leaning and blow-over due to a heavy crown and unstable root system. Remove the staking within two years.

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