Did I mention that a giant branch broke off our Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila) the day before I got home? I think I did. Judy was in the back garden at the time, inspecting our new grill, so it’s lucky she wasn’t hurt. She said it happened so fast there wouldn’t have been time to step aside if the branch were falling on top of her.
Siberian Elm has gotten a lot of bad press over the years. Michael Dirr called it “a disastrous tree”. The folks at the Morton Arboretum say it has invasive tendencies, weak wood and branch structure, and is “prone to breaking apart in storms”. Except that it was a perfectly calm day when this happened.
The tree is also susceptible to borers, scale insects, and elm leaf beetles – though the guy at the Wild Birds Unlimited store says that also makes it attractive to insect-eating birds.
Even so, this was a popular tree with home builders for a time. It’s fast growing (contributes to weak wood) and resistant to Dutch elm disease. And so there is a Siberian Elm in many of the backyards of our neighborhood.
After settling in at home I got out my loppers and my saw and tried to hack out a path from the back door to our new grill, because Judy was really looking forward to cooking our Sunday dinner outside. (It was delicious.)
On Monday an arborist came over to take a look. He’s going to clear out the debris in a couple of days and return later to trim the dead wood (of which there is quite a lot) out of the tree.
Even though our Siberian Elm is an ongoing headache, I was still relieved when he said we didn’t have to take the whole thing down. A mature shade tree is a mature shade tree, and losing one is always distressing.
Do you now or have you ever had a Siberian Elm in your garden?