Explore Plants

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
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
2 ratings

Wednesday - April 29, 2009

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: What is the scoop on dwarf cedar elms?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Several years ago, I purchased a small plant from a San Antonio wholesaler that was identified as a "Dwarf Cedar Elm." My brother had also purchased a few from there. No one there knows anything about them. I have never seen it anywhere else or found any other references to it anywhere. The leaf is very small and looks just like a cedar elm leaf (i.e. Ulmus crassifolia). When mature, the tree will get to be about 12 feet tall. It has many cedar elm characteristics, only smaller. Have you ever heard of this? Is it considered a native? Thanks

ANSWER:

Many plant species will occasionally produce dwarf individuals.  Clever horticulturists recognize the market potential of naturally dwarfed plants and collect, asexually propagate, and introduce these unusual specimens to the nursery trade.  Some cultivars, like dwarf yaupon, Ilex vomitoria become mainstays of landscape design.  Others, may not.  Some dwarf plants are not especially attractive, Some lose their dwarf characteristics over time and "grow out of" their diminutive stature.  Some are inordinately difficult to propagate and thus, fall from favor with nurserymen.  Finally, some may be more susceptible to diseases than their full-size counterparts.

We have heard of nurseries offering dwarf cedar elms, Ulmus crassifolia from time to time, though we have never actually seen any of the plants.  However, we are a little skeptical about their horticultural value since they don't seem to remain on the market very long.  All of this to say we just don't know much about them.

Another dwarf elm is a non-native hybrid, Ulmus x hollandica 'Jacqueline Hillier'.  It is possible, though not so likely, that it has been marketed as a dwarf cedar elm.

 

More Trees Questions

Toxicity of Fan Tex Ash tree to horses
July 22, 2012 - Is the Fan Tex Ash tree toxic to horses?
view the full question and answer

Is there a recommended list for Texas Eastern Cross Timbers?
August 29, 2011 - Is there a recommended list for Texas Eastern Cross Timbers?
view the full question and answer

Looking for a seedless variety of Desert Willow in San Antonio.
February 17, 2011 - Is there a seedless (podless)variety of the Desert Willow tree that also has the dark burgundy color? If so, do you know who sells it in the central Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Adventitious sprouts from Live Oak in Dallas
February 26, 2011 - How do I kill Holly growing in my yard? I have a Live Oak tree growing in my Bermuda grass lawn. The holly grows under the tree from the trunk extending out about 12-15 ft. It grows right in with the ...
view the full question and answer

Live oaks dying in Austin, TX?
February 03, 2011 - I had my live oak trees trimmed in October(it had been over 5 years) by a reputable Austin company. The tree canopies were not very thick to begin with, but throughout the winter, some trees have los...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.