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Siberian Elm

Ulmus pumila

Siberian elm Siberian elm
Siberian elm
G. Lumis
Siberian elm
G. Lumis

Height  15-25m (50-75 feet)

Leaves  2-7cm (0.8-2.5")

This medium-sized tree is native to northeastern Asia, but has been extensively planted in cities across North America – especially in the West.  This is due to the Siberian elm’s resistance to Dutch elm disease and other pathogens. 

The Siberian is extremely drought resistant. In grows at altitudes of up to 3900m in Tibet and once grew in the Gobi desert. After the drought of the 1930’s in the US Midwest, Siberian elms were planted extensively and became the most widely planted shelterbelt tree in North America.  It is now found in places as distant as the USSR and Argentina where arid land came under cultivation.

Thriving on moist soils, this hardy tree can flourish in adverse conditions.  Leaves are narrow and between 2 and 7 cm long.  Unlike other elm species, the leaves are almost symmetrical at the base.  The bark is gray and rough.

Many arborists consider the Siberian elm an undesirable street tree due to its weak wood and prolific seeding.