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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - June 21, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Life expectancy for Ulmus crassifolia
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is the life expectancy for a cedar elm? We live in Austin, and the tree was likely here before the house, which was built in 1939.

ANSWER:

Ulmus crassifolia (cedar elm) is considered a long-lived tree, even though it is quick growing. It is called a Cedar Elm because it is frequently found in the wild with Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper), which are called "cedars" in this part of the country.

It is difficult to estimate the age of a cedar elm because it has an unusual cross-section that may be triangular, almost square, or deeply irregularly scalloped. The annual growth rings are very indistinct. If, in truth, your tree was already in place before your house was built in 1939, then you already know a cedar elm can live in excess of 70 years. The average height for cedar elms in our Central Texas limestone soils is about 50 feet.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

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