Elm Questions

Asked June 13, 2016, 11:29 AM EDT

Hi, The buds on my elm tree have not opened (it is June 13th). The tree had wind damage from the winter and I have a arborist come out and remove the broken branches and trim it. She said that the tree was healthy. After that, we has a late spring freeze that affected a number of bushes and a small tree (and I think the elm). Should I have it checked out? If it the result of the late freeze, is there anything that I can do in terms of added fertilizer. Thanks.

Prince George's County Maryland

3 Responses

You did not mention how old the tree is. Scratch the bark or branches with your fingernail and look for green tissue. If you see it, the tree may be viable. If brown, it is dead. At this point, send us photos of the whole tree and around the base of the tree so we can see what you may be dealing with.


Moved to the house in 2012 so I do not know the age of the tree. Have included three photos. The first photo is the whole tree. It is next to a maple. The second one shows leaves coming from one side of the elm tree (you may need to increase the image to see it - it is on the left). The third is the base.

The branches are fairly high up, the trunk is too thick to scratch. There is ivy on the fence, the former owner allowed it to grow on the trees. I have trimmed it off the trees and the fence (see first photo).

Thanks for the photos. Although we cannot see the actual base of the tree and its interface with the soil, the canopy of the tree suggests a 'root problem'. In other words, for some reason, the tree's vascular system has been compromised and is unable to provide water and nutrients to the upper canopy. The one branch that is foliating is indicative of a small portion of the vascular system still viable enough to keep that branch alive. But, the major part of the tree is either dead or dying. Given the size of the tree and the proximity to ;your residence and other structures, it would be best to have it removed as soon as possible.
The ivy is not the cause of the problem. It is best to remove ivy from a tree since in time the ivy will reach the canopy, 'mature', become very heavy, and pull the tree down.
If you wish to consult two or more certified arborists for opinions or estimates, you can find a list in your area at www.treesaregood.org. This is the website of the International Society of Arboriculture, the certifying agency for all arborists.