All About Cedar Elm Trees

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If you’re looking for the most widespread native elm tree in Texas, look no further than the cedar elm. Often called the Texas elm, it’s a tough, heat-tolerant shade tree that can weather a drought and it’s the only elm that flowers in the fall with its glorious light-green blossoms. Best of all, it beautifies a landscape with very little care.

10 Fun Facts About These Popular Texas Trees

1. Not a cedar tree. As the Native Plant Society of Texas notes, the name cedar elm is a little confusing. The name stems from the fact that you often find them near junipers, which sometimes share the common name of cedar.
2. Size & Shape. This elm is a large, rounded tree that can reach heights of 50-70 ft. and up to 40-60 ft. wide, growing 1.5′ to 2.5′ annually. The champion cedar elm of Missouri made its debut on the National Register of Champion Trees in 2019 standing 97 feet tall.
3. Wood: Brittle, reddish-brown, with a thick layer of light-colored sapwood, the wood of the elm is sometimes used to manufacture furniture, fencing and wheel hubs.
4. Oval Leaves. These elms feature lustrous dark green oval leaves that are 1–2″ long, and stiff and rough to the touch like cedar trees.
5. Resistant to Dutch Elm Disease. As with all elms, it’s susceptible to Dutch elm disease, but fortunately, it’s more resistant to it than the American elm.
6. Prone to Pests. These Texas trees are susceptible to slight insect damage from elm leaf beetles. aphids, cotton scale and spider-mites. But nothing a little tree management can’t take care of. In fact, they typically live up to 100 years.
7. Soil Preference. They grow in acidic, alkaline, moist, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils. While tolerant of draughts, they can also grow in ground that’s periodically saturated.
8. Weaknesses. A particularly moist summer can cause cedar elms to mildew, and under stress, they may become infested with mistletoe, which can suck moisture and nutrients from their sap.
9. Sun Lovers. A bright, full sunny day is the ideal environment for this tree, as it prefers at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight daily.
10. Allergy-Inducing. Because they’re wind-pollinated, their pollen can irritate allergy sufferers through late fall.

If you’re looking for low-maintenance Texas trees that provide shade when you need it and beauty all year round, a cedar elm does that and more.