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Princeton elm

A specimen of American elm, cultivar 'Princeton'.

The Princeton elm exhibits good resistance to Dutch elm disease (DED) and demonstrates resistance to elm beetles as well. This large, fast-growing tree is tolerant of many adverse site conditions. 

This plant is a cultivar of a species that is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits.

Botanical name:

Ulmus americana 'Princeton'

All common names:

Princeton elm

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Planting Site:

  • Residential and parks,
  • City parkway,
  • Wide median,
  • Restricted sites

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Parkway/street,
  • Shade tree,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

Mature Height:

50-70 feet

Mature Width:

30-50 feet

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct 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


  • Dry sites,
  • Occasional drought,
  • Wet sites,
  • Occasional flooding,
  • Alkaline soil,
  • Clay soil,
  • Road salt

Acid Soils:

  • Tolerant

Alkaline Soils:

  • Tolerant

Salt Spray:

  • Tolerant

Soil Salt:

  • Tolerant

Drought Conditions:

  • Tolerant

Poor Drainage:

  • Tolerant

Ornamental Interest:

  • Fall color

Seasons of Interest:

  • early fall,
  • mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Inconspicuous

Shape or Form:

  • Vase-shaped

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

Transplants Well:

  • Yes


  • Migrant birds

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Generally, elms prefer sun.
Adapt easily to extremes in soil pH, moisture and heat and wind tolerance.
Elms should be pruned in the dormant season.

Disease, pests, and problems

Elm yellows, elm phloem necrosis, elm leaf miner and verticillium wilt are potential problems.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

This cultivar has good resistance to Dutch elm disease and some resistance to elm leaf beetle.
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

This is a cultvated species of a native tree.

Bark color and texture 

The dark gray bark is ridged and furrowed.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, oval, pointed leaves have doubly toothed margins. Leaf is shorter on one side of center vein than on the other. Dark green in summer, changing to yellow fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Inconspicuous flowers in early spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Seed in small oval samara (seed case with wings for wind dispersal).

Location of Ulmus americana 'Princeton' (Princeton elm) at the Arboretum