U of I Master Gardener Confirms: American Elm Trees In Our Yard


Along the north fence line, about mid-way back in our yard, we have a couple of youngish trees that are 2" to 3" caliper trees about 15 to 20 feet tall.  After looking at their leaves, I went around to the rest of the yard to try to identify if I had more than these two.  As you can see above, the leaves are quite jagged along the edges and they are alternate, not compound.  Meaning, the leaves are not exact opposites of each other, but go one on one side, then the other side, then back to the first side, etc.

I tried a few leaf identifying apps and even Google Lense and they gave what I though was questionable results:  they identified it as an Ash Tree. 

The issue?  Ash Trees have compound branching.  Also, my parents lost dozens of Ash trees to the Borer over the past decade, so I was surprised to think that I had two Ash trees that had survived.   

I wanted to figure out what I was dealing with, so after the web gave me mixed results, I remembered what I did when I tried to figure out what kind of ferns I was dealing with:  I emailed the Master Gardener at the DuPage County University of Illinois Extension Office

Here's the post dealing with ferns - where the Master Gardener confirmed we have Ostrich Ferns.

You can find the email address for the Master Gardener on this page of the University of Illinois Extension Office site

I sent off an email including the photo you see above and a description of the leaves (alternate branching and quite jagged) and a couple of hours later, I got this response where they say that it appears that I have a couple of American Elm trees on our property.


As the Master Gardeners pointed out, they're lovely trees and are hardy.  Unless you get Dutch Elm Disease. 

One side history note:  Somewhere in my memory bank, I recall reading a story about how Dutch Elm Disease wiped out all of the trees down on the University of Illinois Quad.  Here's a photo showing the trees, titled "View of Quad Before Elm Disease".

In addition to the identified mature trees like Walnut and Oaks and even a clump of River Birch trees, we now are the proud owners of a couple of youngish American Elms.  Noted in the [Garden Diary].

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