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Give Your Elm Sapling the Best Care

There are several varieties of elm trees that are enjoyed as providers of shade and great additions to any yard or neighborhood. They grow to great heights—over 100 feet—and have wide canopies. They can live for a long time with a little bit of forethought and care. Consulting with a certified arborist can provide you with options to give your elm sapling the best care. The experts at Mr. Tree Services can help you plan your landscaping to incorporate elm trees in your yard, planting the best varieties for your area, as well as ensuring that you’re able to give your elm sapling the best care possible.

Other aspects to consider in caring for your elm sapling include regularly watching for any symptoms of disease, ensuring that the soil your tree is planted in is best for growing elm trees, and making sure your tree is watered and pruned regularly.

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Dutch elm disease began to destroy elm species around the 1920s. The disease is a fungal infection that’s spread by beetles laying their eggs in the bark. When the larvae hatch, they bore deep into the elm and infect the tree, eating healthy tree sap, thus causing the spread of infection with the fungus. The tree’s death can occur within three years. If the symptoms of the infection are caught early enough, however, there are ways to treat it. Speaking with a tree expert can help save your tree and be sure it’s protected from a variety of diseases, especially Dutch elm disease.

Monitoring your elm tree while it grows involves regularly checking it for symptoms of disease, such as fungal growths or the presence of beetles or larvae or other pests. The fungal infection can be initially identified by wilting, yellow leaves.

Removing dead or dying branches is a sure way to prevent the spread of infection and to help the healthy growth of your elm tree. If you’re in the Portland, Oregon area, you might be required to obtain a permit for pruning your trees.

Choose the Best Location

Timing and location are key for planting your elm sapling. Planting in the fall is a great time for it to settle into the soil and will allow it a great chance to establish healthy roots. Autumn months from September to November, depending on the area where you’re located, can have soil that is cool and moist enough before the winter freeze comes.

Elm trees love areas of full sun or partial shade. Their canopies have the potential to grow wide and sprawling, so they’re a great addition of beauty to your neighborhood. They can be nice along a walkway or in a spacious yard for a cool breeze. Their roots can grow quite large and can sometimes disrupt the paving slabs of a sidewalk, so keep this in mind when choosing your planting location. An expert, like the arborists at Mr. Tree, can also help you decide where to plant your elm sapling.

Elm trees actually do well in urban environments because they’re adaptable in a variety of soils. However, more natural soil is preferred and can be cultivated. After planting an elm sapling, the tree will benefit from regular fertilization, usually twice annually. Your local arborist will be able to suggest a suitable fertilizer to aid in the tree’s establishment of a strong root system as well as increase stress tolerance in quality soil.

Because of how contagious Dutch elm disease is, it’s best to plant elm saplings far enough apart from each other and in the presence of different varieties of trees other than elm.

Use Mulch

One way to help elm saplings thrive in their early growth is to use mulch around the base of the tree. Keeping mulch helps to prevent the growth of grass around the tree. Grass, like any other living plant near the tree, competes for the same nutrients in the soil, depriving the elm’s root system of what it needs to grow. Using mulch can create an effective buffer to ensure the most growth for the young sapling. This also creates a buffer from general lawn care. Young trees can be easily damaged by a weed whacker string or lawnmower.

Don’t Forget to Water

Proper watering is also crucial to the growth of your elm sapling. You’ll want to make sure that you water your new elm sapling once a week or at most every 10 days. It’s important that you allow the soil the opportunity to dry between watering. If the soil is waterlogged, the roots won’t be able to breathe. The best way to water your trees is with a slow and steady stream of water. This will penetrate the soil to the root system but won’t be directly at the base of the trunk. After a couple of years’ growth, watering will no longer need to be as frequent, unless there is a dry season.

Prune Correctly

Giving the best care possible to your elm sapling means that you need to wait to prune your elm until it reaches maturity. Pruning is one of the most important strategies to be able to promote the healthy growth of an elm sapling into a mature and healthy tree.

Because of the threat of the Dutch elm disease, pruning requires special considerations. With the elm’s susceptibility to disease, pruning your elm in early spring, around the beginning of April, is ideal. Pruning can leave elm trees vulnerable to attracting elm bark beetles, which carry the fungal disease that can infect the tree. Because of the increased number and types of fungal spores present during the autumn, pruning should not be undertaken in the fall, either, since the Dutch elm disease is a fungal infection. Pruning early in the spring and avoiding pruning in the heat of the summer allows time for the pruning wounds to regrow.

Consulting a local tree expert such as Mr. Tree for all of your pruning work can be beneficial to the overall health of your elm tree.