UACES Facebook Elm
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December 10, 2016


The Oklahoma City Memorial Commission gave me a "shoot" from THE American elm "Survival Tree." I rooted it and it is now about 15 feet tall in my back yard with a base diameter of about 3". It is growing straight up. When is a good time, age-wise and seasonal, to have it trimmed so it will grow to its proper shape and grow away from the house to decrease the danger of it falling on the house when full grown? Also, do you recommend a particular style of tree trimmer? This tree is very special to me!



First of all, how far away from your house is the tree planted?  For a large tree, I suggest no closer than 15-20 feet from a home. You want to make sure there is room to allow for a good branching structure all the way around the tree so that it is not lopsided. When a tree is young is the ideal time to trim it to make sure it has a sound branching system at maturity.  Often elm trees will have a fork at the top with two branches too close together. Choose on and prune the other out and then tip the ends of the branches.  This should encourage more lateral branching.  Each year inspect your limbs and make sure they are healthy and growing well.  Tipping the ends will encourage branching.  With good training while young, you should have a low-maintenance and healthy tree for life.  Loppers or pole pruners work well.



(September 2012)

QuestionWe have lost some oak trees recently from lightening and want to replace these trees. We are looking to replace the canopy of shade we had, with trees, but I do not want to replace oak with oak, as I still have several Oaks and Hickory trees that drive me insane with the nuts they bear. I am looking for trees that will provide shade, and have deep rooting systems. We were successful in growing Seedless Ash in Iowa, but the climate there is different than here in Arkansas. Could Ash handle the extreme heat and survive? Other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

AnswerAsh does grow in Arkansas but can be plagued by borers. Some other options include Lacebark Elm- Ulmus parvifolia, tulip poplar – Liriodendron tulipifera, little leaf linden – Tilia cordata, Blackgum – Nyssa sylvatica and bald cypress – Taxodium distichum.

(September 2007)

QuestionWe are building a new house and there are no trees in the yard. Can you recommend a tree that gives nice shade and grows quickly? When is the best time to plant them?

AnswerThere are quite a few trees that grow quickly and make nice shade trees. Probably the fastest growing tree is the tulip poplar—Liriodendron tulipifera. This tree will be large at maturity, so make sure you have ample room for it to grow. Don’t plant a shade tree any closer than 15 to 20 feet from the foundation, and always look up to avoid power lines before planting. Some other good choices include: Lacebark elm – Ulmus parvifolia, Willow oak – Quercus phellos and Littleleaf Linden – Tilia cordata. In my opinion, the best time to plant a tree is in the fall. Planting in the fall as the trees are going dormant allows the root system to grow and get established without having to supply energy to the rest of the tree. This will give you a stronger tree once the growing season begins. Having said that, be aware that today many trees are containerized, and can be planted 12 months out of the year, as long as you are willing to water.

(January 06)

QuestionIf things go as planned we will be moving into a new home in a couple of months. We want a couple of trees in front of the house. Would maple or dogwood be ok and if so is there a particular kind ? We will have close to 100 ft. across the lot. It is in the Hot Springs area.

AnswerDogwoods would be a good choice only as an understory plant. They need a bit of protection from the hottest afternoon sun. You may want to get some shade trees established. Red maples are great trees, but do be aware that they can have surface roots. To be guaranteed the red fall color, look for a named cultivar such as 'October Glory' or 'Red Sunset'. Some other good shade trees that are tough and durable are Little Leaf Linden--Tilia cordata, Lacebark Elm--Ulmus parvifolia and blackgum- Nyssa sylvatica.

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