TREES & plants

Slippery elm (Not recommended)

A mature specimen fo slippery elm.

Due to susceptibility to Dutch elm disease (DED), slippery elm is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually require removal and/or replacement. 

"This species is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research."  

Botanical name: 
Ulmus rubra
All Common Names: 
slippery elm
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Tree
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Chicago area, 
  • Illinois, 
  • North America
Size Range: 
  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)
Mature Height: 
40-60 feet
Mature Width: 
30-50 feet
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3, 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7, 
  • Zone 8, 
  • Zone 9
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Tolerant
Salt Spray: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Vase-shaped
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
Transplants Well: 
  • No
  • Browsers, 
  • Migrant birds, 
  • Small mammals, 
  • Songbirds
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

Do not prune elm trees between mid-April and mid-October

Disease, pests, and problems

Due to susceptibility to Dutch elm disease (DED), slippery elm is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 4

Bark color and texture 

Bark is gray, ridged and furrowed. 

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple, alternate leaves are 4 to 6 inches long with a toothed margin and unequal leaf base. 
Leaves are dark green in summer, changing to yellow in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, inconspicuous flowers in spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruit is a seed surrounded by a circular wafer-like wing.



Ulmus rubra or Slippery elm (Not recommended)

We do not seem to have this in our living collection.