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Mr. Smarty Plants - Seedlings of elm trees in Illinois

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Monday - June 09, 2008

From: Creve Coeur, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Seedlings of elm trees in Illinois
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have what I believe to be young elm trees sprouting throughout my front yard. I will pull them up and over night more sprout and will be 5+ inches tall. I would like to know how to get rid of them, stop them from growing. The houses next to me do not have this problem. Thank you

ANSWER:

If you have the sprouts in your yard, and the neighbors don't, that probably means that the mother tree is in your yard. There are three elms considered native to Illinois: Ulmus alata (winged elm), Ulmus americana (American elm), and Ulmus rubra (slippery elm). All are susceptible to Dutch Elm disease, which has nearly wiped out the species in North America. They are also weedy, and they tend to infest hedges, fencerows and other idle ground, as you have already found out.

Insofar as the present sprouts are concerned, there is not much you can do except pull them out, mow them, and curse them. Using any sort of herbicide would endanger the plants around them. If the tree is not very old or essential to your landscape, you might consider having it cut down. In view of the weediness and problems with pests and disease, this might save you a lot of grief in the long run. Even if you do that, birds and animals are going to continue to pick up the seeds and disseminate them, but after a year or so the problem should lessen.


Ulmus alata

Ulmus americana

Ulmus rubra

 

 

 

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