Pole stage to semi-mature small leaved elm surrounding a potential development site

Asked January 11, 2018, 9:55 AM EST

how tolerant are elms to compaction of roots and severance of roots please? Tree report quote: ''The building shown has minor RPA incursions on several of the retained trees. These incursions are slight and the RPAs can be off set into good rooting environments outside of the site to compensate. Elm is a species which is also tolerant of root severance and disturbance. For these reasons, the potential impact on the retained trees is low.'' any comments welcomed - are elms tolerant as quoted?

Outside United States trees and shrubs elm horticulture

1 Response

Thank you for your question about your elm tree. When you say "small leaved elm," I am assuming you are referring to Ulmus americana, or American elm. Your expert is correct in stating this tree tolerates a variety of adverse conditions well. As this US Forest Service report (and numerous ones subsequent thereto) indicates:

"Uses: reclamation plant; specimen; tree has been successfully grown in urban areas where air pollution, poor drainage, compacted soil, and/or drought are common."

In fact, "Roots: surface roots can lift sidewalks or interfere with mowing." Its primary enemy is Dutch elm disease, a fungus spread by a bark beetle, which will probably topple it before the soil compaction. Hope this is helpful. Good luck!