En Español

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
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

Mexican oak and red oak not looking healthy
August 02, 2014 - I purchased a Mexican oak tree and I believe a red oak tree from your center about 1 year ago. Recently I've noticed that they don't look as healthy as they have been, and I just looked at the leave...
view the full question and answer

Pecan tree transplant in Elgin, TX
August 26, 2008 - Hello, Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a question about how to encourage a very young pecan sapling to grow, and whether I should use mulch to do so. I live in Elgin (Bastrop County) and the soil is extr...
view the full question and answer

Alternatives to tuliptree and red maple in Central Texas
August 03, 2007 - I live in southwest Austin, TX, nearby a creek. The soil is very heavy with clay. I've been perusing web sites for trees, and we like the "Summer Red Maple" and "Tulip Poplar" trees very much, m...
view the full question and answer

Dwarf golden cypress outgrowing their space
December 28, 2008 - I planted two dwarf golden cypress on opposite sides of a dwarf alberta spruce in a small bed by the front door. After 4 years I have to severely prune back the dwarf cypress in spring as they will sp...
view the full question and answer

Juniper as host of cedar-apple rust
July 17, 2007 - Thanks for the helpful advice on the Eastern Red Cedar. I was wondering if you could ease my mind about a potential problem. I have read up on some of the native plants in my area in a very good book ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center