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Do Elm Trees Lose Their Leaves? (Quick Answers)

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If you’re a plant lover, you might have heard of elm trees. They are found a lot around the north and eastern side of America as well as many places around the world. So We guess you may have one planted in your backyard.  

Elm trees have a unique and interesting appearance people can hardly ignore. Shaped like a vase, this tree is one of the oldest trees that still exist in the world. 

While learning about elm trees you may ask if elm trees lose their leaves. Or if all their species follow the same pattern of shedding leaves. 

To enlighten you with this and more other information related to elm trees here we are! 

Do elm trees lose their leaves?

Elm trees lose their leaves but at a specific time of the year. As they are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees, they shed leaves in Fall or sometimes in winter. After hibernating for some week, elm trees regrow leaves. But if they lose leaves all of a sudden and earlier that’s alarming and unusual.

Elm trees, a member of the Ulmaceae family, are considered deciduous and semi-deciduous. These trees lose their leaves at a certain time of the year, which is the fall season most of the time. 

They are many in numbers when it comes to species of elm trees. Let’s know whether all of them lose leave in the same routine or not.

Chinese elm trees:

Smaller in size Chinese elm trees are semi-deciduous. That means they do lose leaves but only for a short period. Mostly in late December around the winter season, Chinese elm trees shed leaves which gradually is recovered in the following weeks.

Cedar elm trees:

Cedar elm trees are deciduous. They too lose leaves at some point of the year. They noticeably shed leaves in the fall season like many other kinds of elm trees but leave shedding due to weather is seen often. 

Japanese elm trees:

Shaped like an umbrella this species of elm tree grows nice dark leaves all the year which turns yellow when about to fall. Tagged as deciduous, Japanese elm trees do not shed leaves in bulk all the year. 

Instead, they lose leaves in the Fall, which means in a part of a year.

American elm trees:

Admired for their swift growth, American elm trees shed their leaves once a year, mainly before winter. They tend to lose leaves during the winter as well but never earlier the season.

Dutch elm trees:

A rare species of elm trees, Dutch elm trees are old in type but deciduous since they start losing their leave in the autumn and winter of a year.

Siberian elm trees:

Siberian elm trees can be called semi-deciduous or semi-evergreen. Because their shedding depends on the climate. They lose leaves in the chilled places. But in heated areas, they act as an evergreen.

Elm bonsai trees:

Elm bonsai trees are popular as outdoor bonsai. Unless they are overwatered or has pest, they don’t lose too many leaves all of a sudden. They are deciduous so sheds leave only in the fall and winter season, which means seasonally.

Are elm trees Evergreen?

Elm trees aren’t evergreen. They are deciduous and semi-deciduous. 

Evergreen trees are those that are always full of green leaves. They don’t ever lose all the leaves, not even in drastic weather.

But deciduous trees lose their leave at some part in a year. Same for elm trees. But they are considered semi-deciduous too since the duration of their leave shedding isn’t much longer. 

They mostly lose leaves around the fall and winter. For a shorter period, but they do lose leaves, unlike trees that never get bald in a year. So elm trees aren’t evergreen.

Do elm trees lose their leaves seasonally?

Elm trees lose their leaves at a specific time of the year. That means they shed leaves seasonally. Because they are deciduous.

Trees that drop leaves in a specific season only once a year are tagged with the term deciduous. It happens mostly depending on the sunlight and warmth as leaves can’t produce enough chlorophyll due to less sunlight. 

So they turn yellowish and drop off once they can’t produce chlorophyll anymore. 

Elm trees being deciduous lose their leaves in the Fall. They get bare by the winter but in a few weeks regain new buds.

Usually, elm trees aren’t meant to lose leaves earlier. But if they do all of a sudden and in bulks then there might be any problem that needs attention.  

When do elm trees lose their leaves?

Elm trees lose their leaves in autumn, also known as the fall season. Since they are deciduous trees, their leave sheds only once a year generally around October- December.

In the fall season, elm trees start dropping their leaves and become deserted in the winter. They remain asleep for a short period by not growing any leaves.

The leave shedding in the fall season is natural for elm trees. They are bound to lose leaves during this time but elm trees can shed leaves apart from this.

If an elm tree is affected by any virus or disease it can be noticed shedding leaves all of a sudden. Sometimes elm bonsais lose leaves when they are watered or fertilized more than their requirement. And that’s not natural and seeks immediate steps.

In general, elm trees lose their leave in the Fall.

Why are the leaves falling off my elm tree?

Elm trees are beautiful and unique in their appearance. That elm tree you planted in your yard surely gives you peace until you spot its leaves shedding. Watching your tree getting bare isn’t something that keeps you calm. 

That’s why we’ve noted a few reasons behind this behavior here so that you can take the necessary steps soon:

It’s a seasonal act:

If your elm tree is losing its leaves in the Fall or early winter, there is nothing to get worried about. Since elm trees are deciduous they are meant to shed leaves once a year in the fall and winter. But after a short time, new leaves grow back.

Drought stress:

If the tree is losing leaves in the summer Drought-stress can be a reason. When the heat is too much, the soil doesn’t get enough water. Thus an elm tree lacks moisture which affects the leaves and they fall.

Too much water:

If lack of water can cause sudden leaf drop then too much water can do the same as well. If your elm tree is getting soaked in water continuously, then this is the reason your elm tree is losing leaves. That too in the summer or spring.


Trees start acting unusual if they are infected by any virus or disease for example Dutch elm disease. Tree diseases are serious reasons that cause unusual leaves shedding. They make fresh and green leaves drop off the tree.

What to do with Chinese elm trees losing their leaves?

If you notice your Chinese elm tree dropping its leaves off in the fall or winter, there is no action required. Because as a deciduous tree, Chinese elm will lose leaves seasonally. 

Also, In the first few weeks, a Chinese elm bonsai tree is meant to drop leaves that are old. This is normal behavior that needs no measures.  

However, if a Chinese elm tree is losing its leaves earlier in summer, then the tree might be lacking moisture. So make sure they are watered properly

Avoid feeding Chinese elm trees too much, because that can start an unusual shedding too. Also if the soil around the root is too wet, control over-watering the tree.

If the fallen leaves have marks, then it could be any tree disease that infected that Chinese elm tree. In such cases, professional advice should be taken.

How can I tell if my elm tree is drooping?

There are several signs an elm tree shows before its drooping. You can guess its falling by the symptoms below that your elm tree might show:

Discolored leaves:

The leaves of an about to fall will turn yellow first and then brown from their natural color. 

Sudden leaves drop:

An elm tree near to losing its life will show its leaves dropping off suddenly. Not in the fall but earlier the season.

Deceased branches:

The branches will no longer produce new leaves gradually and start falling off the ground.

Final Thoughts:

Elm trees are deciduous and semi-deciduous by nature. So they lose their leaves seasonally. They start shedding off leaves in the fall and grow back new in a shorter period. But elm trees may drop leaves earlier if there is an issue with them such as the Dutch elm disease effect or too much heat.

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