|HYBRID ELM ON SIXTH ST.|
Saturday, 8:45 AM. 39 degrees F at the ferry dock, 35 on the back porch. Wind WSW, very gusty at times. The sky is mostly clear with some dark clouds in the SE. The humidity is 58%, the barometer 30.19" and rising slightly. We still haven't had a killing frost.
When I was a kid the elms overarched the streets of Milwaukee and its suburbs, cooling the streets and sidewalks with their summer shade, and casting a golden glow over whole neighborhoods when their leaves turned in the fall. Alas, that all disappeared with the onslaught of Dutch elm disease. Now our streets are less dramatic but more diverse, lessening the threat of a repeat of such devastation.
In the past half century the universities and nurseries have been busy hybridizing and selecting elms resistant to the Dutch elm disease fungus, and we now have a new generation of elms to plant as street trees. The hybrids are usually between an American elm and another species that is resistant to the disease, such as the European or Oriental elms. There are a number of such hybrids, among the best being Accolade and Danada Charm, which have high resistance to Dutch elm disease and the typical vase shape of the American elm. There are a number of others that have good resistance as well but not the shape of Ulmus americana.
Our records are unclear as to the name of the hybrid elm pictured, and we have a few others we have planted as well, but I am attracted to this one because of its great fall color. The hybrid elms in general are extremely fast growing, and require a lot of pruning when young to control it. This elm lost its top due to drought a few years back and was radically pruned, but has come back to look quite well.