Have you ever wondered why so many towns have an Elm Street, but there are no elms on it? Dutch Elm Disease was accidentally introduced in the late 1920s from the old world and quickly decimated the stately shade tree throughout its range, exposing the shaded boulevards and the floodplain forest floor, where they naturally grow best, to the bright summer sun. But scientists, arborists, land managers and interested citizens are working diligently to help the majestic American Elm reign once again.
In this episode of Outdoor Radio, VCE biologists Sara Zahendra and Kent McFarland join scientists from the Nature Conservancy and local enthusiasts in Plainfield, Vermont at the foot of a disease-resistant elm. The scientists are taking branch clippings from over 60 feet high in the canopy to pair this tree with other resistant trees across the region. Like an online elm dating site, when the flower buds from the cuttings open in a few weeks, the pollen will be harvested and matched to other disease resistant trees.
The Nature Conservancy Vermont has planted thousands of these trees in the floodplain of the Connecticut River in the hopes of establishing these native trees once again in the floodplain forest where they belong.
You can plant them too. Listen to the show and learn the names of a few disease-resistant American Elm varieties that you might find at nurseries near you.
Listen to the show
Report Your Elm Sightings
- Add your American Elm observations to iNaturalist Vermont, a project of the Vermont Atlas of Life, and view a map of all the observations.
Learn More FROM the U.s. Forest service
- American Elm natural history
- Dutch Elm Disease
- Native and introduced elm bark beetles that carry the disease