The elm tree, particularly the American elm, was once found everywhere throughout the United States, especially in urban areas such as Minneapolis. With the introduction of Dutch Elm disease in 1930, the American elm population was decimated, but with modern-day cultivars and hybrids, it is possible to still enjoy the beauty of the elm. Elm trees recommended by the University of Minnesota Extension are hardy and disease resistant and include the Princeton, Valley Forge and Japanese elms and four hybrids: Cathedral, Accolade, Patriot and New Horizon.
Princeton and Valley Forge Elms
Both the Princeton and Valley Forge are cultivars of the American elm and are resistant to Dutch Elm disease, according to United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. The Princeton elm ranges in height from 75 to 90 feet and its branches spread 50 to 60 feet, while the Valley Forge ranges in height from 60 to 70 feet with a 55- to 65-foot canopy spread. The leaves of both trees turn yellow in the fall.
The Japanese elm is a hardy elm originally from northeast Asia, and introduced to Europe in 1895 according to the "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees," by Tony Russell, Catherine Cutler and Martin Walters. The tree grows to a height of 100 feet, and its bark is pale gray and grooved. The 4-inch leaves are oval and dark green and the small red flowers bud during the spring.
The Cathedral elm is a hybrid between the Siberian and Japanese elms and reaches a height of 40 feet and a spread of 35 feet. A fast grower, the tree does well in clay soils, according to the City of Fargo, North Dakota Department of Forestry. The Accolade, also known as the Thornhill elm, is a cross between a Wilson and Japanese elm and features gray bark when young and is smaller than the American elm. The Patriot elm is a cross between the Urban and Prospector elms, and was developed at the United States National Arboretum. The tree reaches a height of 60 feet with a spread of 40 feet, which closely resembles an upright America elm. The New Horizon is a cross between a Japanese elm and a Siberian elm and reaches a height of 40 feet with a spread of 25 feet.