The Healthy (Elm) Choice
Dazzling Michigan Avenue Tree Illuminates Disease-Resistant Tree Option
LISLE, IL (April 21, 2009) - That huge TriumphTM elm tree sitting in the middle of Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago is doing more than inspiring people to plant trees and enjoy their many benefits. It's a 30-foot-tall FYI to home gardeners across the country that, in spite of Dutch elm disease, you can still plant certain elm trees without fearing they'll be lost.
"We're finding that a lot of people still don't know there are options to replace the iconic American elm, which is susceptible to Dutch elm disease. There's still a lot to do to educate the customer," says Robert Milani, Senior Landscape Architect and Illinois Certified Nurseryman with Chalet's landscape division in North Chicago.
Adds Kris Bachtell, The Morton Arboretum Director of Collections and Facilities, "That's true not only here, but in a large part of the country, they're not planting any elms at all because there's not enough public realization that there are disease-resistant elms."
TriumphTM is one of five Arboretum-bred elms that are highly disease and pest resistant, and drought tolerant. The tree is a hybrid of VanguardTM elm and Accolade® elm. Dutch elm disease has been killing elms in this country since the 1930s when the disease arrived. The elm bark beetle is a chief culprit. The beetle feeds on twigs leaving spores of the disease which then germinate and produce the tree-killing fungus. Each year, Chicago suburbs lose approximately two percent of their susceptible elms to the disease.
"TriumphTM has become a favorite of city foresters because of its form at a younger age. It's easier than other elms to ‘train' into a desired shape, and gives you a very nice looking tree when the trunk is only about three inches in diameter," says Ken Doty, Nursery Manager of Hinsdale Nurseries in Plano.
Milani recommends TriumphTM to his customers because of its glossy leaves and nice structure, adding that it is a relatively fast growing, urban tolerant selection. "We haven't seen any problems with it," he says.
The rave reviews of TriumphTM are no surprise given the years of rigorous testing it endured prior to hitting the market via a unique plant introduction program.
Chicagoland Grows® is a partnership between The Morton Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden, and the Ornamental Growers Association of Northern Illinois. The program develops, evaluates, and selects trees and other plants that are suitable for growing conditions in the upper Midwest. After a selection is made, it is vigorously tested at botanical gardens, universities, and municipal forests. If the plant performs well, propagators grow the plant and it is introduced on a limited basis to wholesale and retail nurseries. If the plant's performance remains high, Chicagoland Grows® conducts a full release to nurseries, as it did with TriumphTM in 2005.
"This careful evaluation and introduction process, along with the unique relationship between The Morton Arboretum, Chicago Botanic Garden, and growers has contributed to the success of Chicagoland Grows®," Doty says.
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission - the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time or sunset, whichever is earlier. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit Press Room at www.mortonarb.org, or call to learn more.
Media Contact: Gina Tedesco, 630-725-2103,