Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Erosion controlling plants for a shady Minnesota lakeside
August 11, 2015 - I live about 50 yards from a lake and there is a steep embankment. Recently someone decided to cut the trees off the embankment and now the dirt is eroding off the embankment as well as off my back ya...
view the full question and answer

Why is my Ash drooping?
June 22, 2009 - Last spring, I bought a house in Austin, TX with a large Ash tree in the front yard. It looked fine last year, but has been looking funny since it leafed out this spring. It's as if the leaves are we...
view the full question and answer

Viability of Texas Mountain Laurel in Louisiana
March 19, 2008 - I just returned from a visit to Austin and I saw the Texas Mountain Laurel everywhere. I live in the Baton Rouge, LA area and would like to know if performing some soil amendments would allow me to gr...
view the full question and answer

Can Crataegus viridian be grown in Houston, TX?
June 21, 2015 - I am looking to plant Crataegus viridis (species or cultivar "Winter King") at a location in full sun in Houston. Many places I've found online say that it is hearty through Zone 9, but others have...
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to Mexican olive in Austin
December 13, 2009 - I have a Mexican Olive tree/bush. It is young - about 8 ft. tall. This last freeze in Austin made many of its leaves turn black. I got this from your database: "Its native range extends no farther...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.