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A street lined with elmsUntil the arrival of the Dutch elm disease, the beautiful elm was used as a landscape tree throughout the temperate areas of much of North America. The elms found on this continent are a mixture of native and imported varieties. All are deciduous trees, usually with toothed oval leaves. The seeds, technically called samaras, have one smooth or hairy wing. The wood of the elm has long been prized by furniture and piano makers for its strength, weight and toughness. Due to the Dutch Elm Disease, a fungus spread by elm bark beetles, the elm is much less popular as a landscape tree now than was once the case.

Prepare Your Tree for Dutch Elm Disease

The biggest concern for most owners of elm trees is Dutch elm disease.  This widespread and usually fatal fungal infection affects many types of elms in most of eastern and central North America and is making its way to the western coast.

Although research is underway to develop ways to prevent and treat Dutch elm disease, you can give your tree a helping hand by ensuring its overall health.  A healthy, strong tree is better able to fight off infection than a weak, stressed tree.

Probably the most important factor for a healthy elm tree is good soil. The type of soil determines not only how much nutrients and water the plant has access to, but also how efficiently the tree can use those nutrients. This can determine whether your elm can successfully withstand the stresses of growing in an urban environment or fight diseases such as Dutch elm disease. As a homeowner, the best contribution you can make to your elm tree's soil and to the long-term viability of your tree is the addition of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi.

To learn more about mycorrhizal fungi, click here.