Skip to Content

How Long Do Elm Trees Live? How Fast Do Elm Trees Grow?

Sharing is caring!

Elm trees are large shade trees, known for being drastically hardy and resistant to cold weather. Elms are native to primary north-temperate areas and may be identified by their round and jagged leaves, and peppery seed cases.

The American elm is the most common elm, with a life expectancy exceeding 200 years. Elms are also known to grow quickly, with an average growth rate of 3-6 feet per year.

How long do elm trees live?

The life expectancy of elm trees may vary from species to species. However, the most common species known as the American elm is known to have an average life expectancy between 175 to 200 years. It is not uncommon for this species to often reach the age of 300 or more.

Let’s walk through this section to know about the lifespan of the following species of elm tree –

Chinese elm trees:

The Chinese elm is native to Eastern Asia and is also called the lacebark elm. When planted with care, this species of elm tree can live anywhere between 50 to 150 years in proper conditions.

American elm trees:

The American elm is the most common urban shade tree and is native to eastern North America. Their lifespan is generally between 175 to 200 years, although some commonly exceed 300 years.

Bonsai Elm trees:

Bonsai elm trees are generally smaller indoor Chinese elms. They are popular among southeast Asia, especially China. Indoor bonsai elms require plenty of sunlight and can easily live up to 100 years when grown under favorable conditions.

Lacebark elm trees:

Lacebark elms are also referred to as true Chinese elms. They are usually medium-sized, characterized by a round or oval crown. Lacebark elms can reach life expectancies of 50 to 150 years.

Cedar elm trees:

Cedar elms are deciduous trees ranging from medium to large in size. Their crowns are rounded with small leaves. The typical lifespan of cedar elms is approximately 100 years.

Dutch elm trees:

Dutch elm trees are a rare species of elm, with over 90% of its species wiped out due to the Dutch elm disease in 1930, However, their average life expectancy is approximately 150 years.

Siberian elm trees:

The Siberian elm is native to Central Asia and is also alternatively called the Asiatic elm and dwarf elm. In their native habitats, the Siberian elm can reach a lifespan between 100 to 150 years.

Golden elm trees:

Golden elms are large deciduous trees that are generally vase-shaped during their youth. With age, however, their canopies grow more rounded. They are also known as Golden Wych elms.

Drake elm trees:

Drake elms are deciduous trees that are generally small in size. They are characterized by their thick and shiny green foliage and arched branches. Drake elm trees can be expected to live near or more than 70 years.

Winged elm trees:

Winged elms are deciduous elm trees that are endemic to the southern woodlands of the United States. They are not difficult to grow and will easily live up to 100 years under proper conditions.

Princeton Elm trees:

The Princeton elm is a specimen of the American elm, commonly grown for its healthy and upright symmetrical form. They generally live over 150 years of age.

How long does an Elm tree take to mature?

The duration it takes for an elm to fully mature varies from species to species. Tree maturity is a term used to label trees that have begun to produce fruit or flowers.

Elm trees that have higher growth rates typically mature the fastest. For example, the Chinese elm, also known as lacebark elm, is native to Eastern Asia and grows 3 feet on average annually. It takes about 20 years for this species to fully reach maturity.

Relative to its lifespan and growth rate, this is considered quick for an elm tree to mature. However, other species of elms with much slower growth rates could potentially take much longer to reach maturity.

What gets rid of elm trees?

Unwanted elm trees are perished by either using a herbicide or through a slower process called girdling.

In order to effectively use a herbicide, sections of the tree’s bark must be carved off with an axe to make sure that the chemical reaches the internal vascular tissues. Bark must be chopped off all around the tree’s circumference.

Next, systemic herbicide must be sprayed on the exposed internal sections. This entire process must be repeated several times. When finally perished, the tree should be removed from the site by chopping it down with an axe.

Girdling, on the other hand, perishes an elm tree by stopping important minerals from being transported from the roots to the leaves and branches. This is done by stripping down the outer bark of the tree using a handsaw, avoiding any deep cuts.

How do I know if my elm tree is losing its life?

 Follow these methods to figure out whether your elm tree is showing signs of imminent perish.

Inspect roots:

Observe the roots flare of your elm tree. The root flare is referred to the part of the tree where it enlarges into the ground. If the root flare cannot be detected, uncover the area where it should be present.

Next, look for any ants and sawdust as they are common signs of a pest infestation. Any small branches growing on the roots should be removed as they are a sign the tree is in distress.

Fungi on trunk:

Inspect any fungi that may potentially be growing on the elm tree’s trunk. This is a good indicator that the tree may be drying as the presence of fungi implies the wood beneath them is perished.

The trunk of the tree should also be devoid of any holes or peeling bark because these are signs of a decrease in health of the plant.

Check insides of branches:

The inside of a healthy elm tree branch will be white, devoid of any streaks. Any brown streaks are a symptom of the drastically Dutch elm disease. This disease is caused by a fungus that commonly strikes elm trees.

To inspect the insides, simply take a small new branch, and cut it at an angle.

How fast do Elm Trees grow?

The growth rate of an elm tree depends on the species it belongs to and can therefore vary greatly. For example, the American elm grows 3 to 6 feet each year in any given environment and soil. The Chinese elm tree, on the other hand, will grow slightly slower – up to 3 feet annually.

Let’s walk through this section to learn about the growth of the following species of elm tree –

Chinese elm trees:

The Chinese elm is considered a very fast-growing tree. Its height generally increases between 12 to 36 inches per season.

American elm trees:

The American elm is known to grow quickly in practically any condition and environment. They typically grow between 3 to 6 feet each year.

Bonsai elm trees:

Bonsai elm trees can increase in height very fast under proper conditions. Around 10 to 15 cm a month is common.

Lacebark elm trees:

Lacebark elms have a moderate to fast growth rate of 13 to 24 inches each season.

Cedar elm trees:

The Cedar elm is known to have a medium to fast growth rate. The elm will typically add between 13 to 24 inches to its height per year.

Dutch elm trees:

Dutch elms are known to grow quite quickly. Similar to the popular American elm species, it will add an average of 3 feet to its height annually.

Siberian elm trees:

Siberian elms have a rapid growth rate and a high tolerance for cold weather and drought. It will grow around 3 to 5 feet per year.

Golden elm trees:

The Golden elm, also commonly known as Golden Wych elms, is another species of elm with a moderate growth rate of 1 to 3 feet per year.

Drake elm trees:

The Drake elm tree has a fast growth rate, especially for the initial 8 to 9 years. They grow around 1 to 2 feet annually.

Winged elm trees:

Although Winged elms will grow quickly in the open, under forest and woodland conditions, they grow only about 2.0 to 2.5 inches in 10 years.

Princeton elm trees:

Princeton elms are another species of a fast-growing elm tree, with a growth rate of 2 feet per year.

How tall does an elm tree grow?

The final height of an elm tree after reaching maturity can vary depending on the species and its growth rate. The soil and environment under which it is grown may also affect its final height.

For example, the American elm grows to be 60 to 80 feet tall while the Chinese elm grows 50 to 60 feet tall.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, the growth rate and life expectancy of an elm tree may vary considerably depending on the species it belongs to. For example, the most common elm, the American elm, has a life expectancy of 175-200 years and a growth rate between 3 to 6 feet per year.

Sharing is caring!