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Are Elm Trees Evergreen or Deciduous? (Read This First!)

Elm trees are originated from central Asia comprising the flowering plant family Ulmaceae. Elm trees are found in various natural forests. Elm trees are also used to enhance the ornament of houses, gardens, parks, and streets.

This article will provide an in-depth answer and offer you deep insights into the nature of elm trees – whether they fall off at maturity or not.

Evergreen vs deciduous, what’s the difference?

There are myriad plant species in the world. Some plants are evergreen and some are deciduous. On the other hand, there are plants that are not entirely evergreen or nor deciduous. They are termed semi-deciduous.

Before understanding the nature of semi-deciduous plants, first, you need to know the difference between evergreen and deciduous trees.

Evergreen trees as the name indicate, tend to remain green all year round. Evergreen trees are normally seen in tropical regions. Those types of trees don’t lose leaves during winter. Some evergreen trees also lose leaves but they tend to lose leaves from one side at a time.

And that’s why evergreen trees don’t vacate all the tree leaves during the winter.

Deciduous trees lose their leaves once a year. All the deciduous plants lose leaves during the winter season. The leaves fall off from the tree to conserve water from the periphery of tree leaves.

Falling off the leaves is a survival mechanism of the plant to sustain in harsh cold and heat climates. Deciduous trees tend to go in a hibernation mood during the winter period.

Are elm trees evergreen or deciduous?

Elm trees are not entirely evergreen or nor deciduous. The elm trees are semi-deciduous. For a short period of time, some elm species lose their leaves. And other species of elm lose one side of tree leaves at a time. In some species of elm trees, leaves don’t entirely fall off during the winter.

Elm trees are not fully evergreen or nor deciduous. Elm trees tend to be semi-deciduous. Elm is a pretty popular flowering tree and it is commonly found in different regions of the world.

Most of the elm trees don’t lose their leaves during the winter. Leaves of the elm trees don’t entirely fall off during the beginning of winter.

On the contrary, elm trees are not entirely evergreen also. Because they lose some of the leaves from one side of the tree. But the elm trees entirely vacate their leaves. That’s why elm trees are not fully evergreen or not deciduous.

The nature of some elm species are mentioned hereafter –

Chinese elm tree:

Chinese elm tree is a fast-growing tree. They are semi-deciduous trees. Chinese elm trees shed their leaves during the winter. But unlike other deciduous plants, their leaves fall off during the end of winter.

Golden elm tree:

Golden elm tree is a deciduous tree and a golden elm tree can be medium to large. Their leaves fall off from one side of the plant during the winter.

Shedding of the leaves of golden elm trees happens during the late winter and they act similarly to an evergreen tree in warmer climates.

Cedar elm tree:

Cedar elm is a large deciduous tree. Cedar elm can grow up to 24 to 27 meters in height. Their shedding of leaves takes place from one side of the tree. The cedar elm tree also acts similarly to an evergreen tree during the warmer periods.

Drake elm tree:

Unlike the other species of elm, a drake elm tree tends to be relatively small in size. The drake elm trees are semi-deciduous. They shed leaves late in the winter.

American elm tree:

American elm or white elm is a native species of elm in Eastern North America. American elm trees are deciduous but they shed their leaves in late winter.

Do elm trees lose their leaves seasonally? What month do they lose their leaves?

Elm trees don’t lose their leaves in all seasons. Rather, the elm trees lose the leaves during the fall. It is a natural process for the elm trees to lose their leaves.

Falling off the tree foliage initiates from the beginning of September and October. Trees lose leaves throughout December and January. And elm trees lose foliage from one side of the tree gradually.

Elm trees are deciduous or semi-deciduous. Deciduous plants lose their leaves during the winter. Falling off tree leaves start in late fall and trees lose their leaves entirely during the winter season. Deciduous trees go into a dormant state during this period.

It is a survival mechanism for deciduous plants to survive in harsh environments.

Elm trees such as American elm, cedar elm, drake elm, Chinese elm lose their foliage during the end of fall. But elm trees don’t entirely lose their leaves during the fall and winter season. They act similarly to the evergreen trees such as Pine, Cypress, and Redwood, etc.

Evergreen trees don’t lose foliage or lose little foliage during the winter and those types of trees hold leaves throughout the year. Similarly, like evergreen trees, the falling off of leaves from the elm trees initiates from one side at a time.

This behavior of elm trees makes them semi-deciduous plants.

What color do elm trees turn in the fall?

The color of elm trees turns yellow at the beginning of fall. The leaf color changes into gold during mid of fall. The color change happens because of the falling off the foliage. The color of the American elm trees tends to change into yellowish-brown during the beginning of autumn.

Elm trees are large shade trees and they are used as an ornament for their lustrous colored leaves. The color of the elm trees remains dark green during the summer but the color of the leaves starts to change from the beginning of autumn.

Leaves turn yellow in the fall when the majority of the leaves start to fall off from the tree.

Because of the decrease in temperature in the fall and winter seasons, tree leaves stop or reduce their photosynthesis process. Chlorophyll inside the plant cell gradually breaks down. This causes the plant leaf’s color to change from green to yellow and eventually gold.

When summer comes, the tree foliage starts to grow again and the color of the tree leaves changes back to dark green.

How to tell if my elm tree is drying?

The elm tree in your garden can lose life for various reasons such as nutrient deficiencies, pathogen infection, and poor adaptation to the environment, etc. You have to know the sign and symptoms of a drying elm tree.

The sign and symptoms of a drying elm tree are mentioned hereafter –

  • Falling of leaves abnormally
  • Abnormal change of leaf color of elm tree from dark green to yellow and brownish.
  • Slower growth of the elm tree.
  • Infection of the pathogen in the tree or tree leaves.

Why is my elm tree losing leaves or leaves turning yellow?

If your elm tree is losing leaves or leaves turning yellow then your tree might be infected by the powdery mildew fungus or any other pernicious pathogen. Falling off leaves and yellowing leaves are two common symptoms of powdery mildew disease.

Yellowing tree leaves and falling off the leaves can also occur when your tree experiences nitrogen deficiency. The color of the leaves changes and eventually leads toward the life loss of the tree if the tree remains untreated.

Elm trees are susceptible to various fungi and viruses. Powdery mildew fungus is one of the pathogens that invade elm trees. If the fungus infects your elm tree, then the leaves of the elm gradually turn yellow.

You will observe thinning of the elm leaves and eventually premature leaf drop.

Bacterial infection in your elm tree can also cause dropping of the leaves and turning leaf color yellow. If you don’t proceed with the essential treatment of the elm tree, then the infection will lead to the life loss of the tree. Most trees lose life after the fungal infection.

How do you save a drying elm tree?

Once the elm tree has been diagnosed there is no way to save a drying elm tree. But you can take measures to save other trees. The drying elm tree has to be cut down from the roots.

And you have to burn the tips and roots parts of the diseased elm in order to control the pathogen from spreading to the other trees.

If you don’t take measures to eradicate a drying elm tree, then the pathogen disease will spread into the elm. It will cause a disaster in your garden as the symptoms will gradually be visible in the other elm trees too.

Final thoughts

Elm trees are large semi-deciduous plants. Their leaves fall off from one side gradually during the winter period. But elm trees don’t entirely lose leaves during the winter. And shedding off leaves continues throughout the winter. The leaves of the elm tree grow back in summer.