Elms trees used to grace the streets of towns throughout New England and the Midwest, creating beautiful shady arches over so many “Elm Streets.” And then came the dreaded Dutch Elm Disease which resulted in streets lined by dead trees, creating a huge financial burden ( and hazard) for their removal. But these trees are so beautiful that many universities and arboretums have experimented with groves of cultivars to create a disease resistant tree. One of these has been designated the 2012 Urban Tree of the Year, AccoladeTM Elm – Ulmus ‘Morton’,for the Morton Arboretum outside Chicago, IL.
The Society of Municipal Arborists conducts the Urban Tree of the Year competition every year to illustrate the importance of selecting the right tree for the right spot. The intent of this program is not to indicate that this is the perfect tree that can grow anywhere, but is to make arborists aware of this tree and they should use it if they have a site suitable for it. The Urban Tree of the Year also provides extra publicity to excellent trees that need planting more often. Our cities often contain too many of the common maples and ash that are cheap, easy to grow and are short-lived. A quality urban tree is a better investment for the future of the city and the urban forest.
Species information and photo courtesy of Society of Municipal Arborists
Botanical Name: Ulmus ‘Morton’ Trade Name: AccoladeTM Elm Parentage: U. japonica x U. wilsoniana Family: Ulmaceae Year of Seed Development: 1924 Year of Introduction: 1996 Height: 60 to 70 ft. Spread: 40 to 60 ft. Form: upright, vase-shaped habit Bloom Period: March Flower: inconspicuous Fruit: round samara Summer Foliage: glossy, dark green Autumn Foliage: bright gold Winter Color: bark provides winter interest Bark: furrowed and gray Habitat: tolerates most soils, pH, and environmental salt Culture: prefers rich, moist soil, well drained Hardiness Zone: 4 – 8 Growth Rate: fast, over 3′ per year in youth, 45′ in 20 years Pest Resistance: resistant to Dutch Elm Disease and Elm Yellows, highly resistant to the Elm Leaf Beetle Storm Resistance: good Salt Resistance: tolerant Planting: easily transplanted bare root or B&B, quickly recovers from transplanting in CU-Structural Soil, Pruning: prune in late winter after the threat of extreme cold has passed Propagating: own roots with tissue culture and by grafting onto Ulmus pumila rootstock Design Uses: good for homes, streets, parks, and commercial landscapes Companions: looks good with most general landscape plants Other Comments: fast growing tree which has a distinctly native look Available: most large nurseries