Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila)


Appearance: Deciduous tree, 30 - 60' high with an open rounded crown and slender, spreading branches. Bark is dark gray and shallowly furrowed on a mature tree. Silver-gray twigs have a zig-zag shape with a leaf bud at each turn.

Leaves: Alternate, small, (1- 2"), elliptic, toothed, short-pointed at the tip, slightly uneven at the base (much less than American elm).

Flowers: Greenish, lacking petals and occurring in small, compact, drooping clusters of 2 - 5, appear before leaves develop.

Fruit: Winged, round, and smooth, contains on seed; fruit hangs in clusters.

Ecological Threat:

  • The tree can invade and dominate disturbed prairies in just a few years.
  • Seed germination rate is high and seedlings establish quickly in sparsely vegetated areas.
  • It grows readily in disturbed areas with poor soils and low moisture.
  • A native of eastern Asia, Siberian elm was introduced to the U.S. in the 1860s for its hardiness, fast growth, and ability to grow in various moisture conditions. It is still sold commercially as a shelterbelt and windbreak tree.


Control Methods:


  • Girdling in late spring, plants will die over 1- 2 years
  • Prescribed burning
  • Pulling seedlings


  • Cut-stump treatment with glyphosate; cut-stump or basal bark spray treatment around the stem with triclopyr


Native Substitutes:

Additional Resources