The American Liberty Elm

American Liberty Elm :


The state tree of both Massachusetts and North Dakota, American elm is a beautiful tree but subject to getting a serious disease called Dutch elm disease or DED. The good news is that resistant tree strains are starting to improve the American elm's situation. Elm Research Institute (ERI) has developed on of the best, called the American Liberty Elm, and offers matching grants to groups who want to plant the tree.

Habit and Range:


American elm is one of the most popular of urban shade trees. This tree was planted along downtown city streets for decades. The tree has had major problems with Dutch elm disease and has until now been out of favor when considered for urban tree planting. In North America, American elm attains medium to large tree status and grows 60' to 80' tall. American elm occupies one of the largest north-south ranges in North America - from Canada to Florida.

Enter Elm Research Institute (ERI):

A new matching tree grant program has been announced by Elm Research Institute (ERI), a nonprofit organization based in Keene, NH. This unique, community-oriented promotion features disease-resistant American Liberty Elms which are the only street proven, purebred, native American elms with a "lifetime warranty" against Dutch elm disease. This warrenty is backed by ERI.

About ERI's American Liberty Elm Grant:

How the Matching Tree Grant Program works:
For every inch of caliper purchased in trees 3 inch caliper and larger, ERI will donate one 1 inch or 2 inch caliper tree for planting on public property.
Your Options:
(A) For every inch of caliper purchased in trees Size No. 3 or larger ERI will donate an equal total in Sizes No.

1 or No. 2 trees to be presented as a gift to your municipality for planting on public property.
(B) You purchase (4)trees of any size and get {1) tree free.

Says the Founder of ERI:

“Liberty elms have become extremely popular with new home owners, builders, landscape architects, developers and contractors” says John P. Hansel, Founder of ERI. “We will extend the Matching Tree Grant Program to those who are specifying and planting American Liberty Elms.”

Why Plant American Liberty Elms?:

The American Liberty Elm has shown superior resistance to disease fungus inoculations over successive years, says ERI. The elm has had more than 20 years of "street testing", growing in communities where Dutch elm disease is present. In an "ultimate field test", losses among the over 300,000 trees planted have been less than 1 per cent. "With more elms now on the market claiming resistance, you need to inquire about the origin and track record of any elm you are considering" says Hansel.

Why Plant an American Elm?:

The American Elm displays a classic elm form, and is perfect for many landscape designs, including elm-lined drives, elm groves and specimen elms. As an elms matures, it displays wide canopies to heights that afford clear views of the architectural details of buildings and deep shade for people to enjoy.


A favorite of Fredrick Law Olmsted, the American elm was included in his plans for the U.S. Capitol grounds, New York City's Central Park and other projects.

More on the Matching Tree Grant Program:

For more information about the Matching Tree Grant Program, phone Elm Research Institute at 1-800-367-3567 (FOR-ELMS), online at www.landscapeelms.com or write Elm Research Institute, 11 Kit St, Keene, NH 03431. Individuals may also get a free 2-3 ft. tree with a $45 membership.

Expert Comments on Elms:


"It is massive, long lived, tough, easy to grow, adaptable and blessed with an arching, wine-glass-like silhouette, making it the perfect street tree." - Guy Sternberg, Native Trees for North American Landscapes

"Most trees find life an ongoing struggle, but elms have been through a singular hell."- Arthur Plotnik, The Urban Tree Book

"From a pragmatic viewpoint, it is difficult to recommend this species because of the disease problem.

If the newer, resistant selections prove successful, then I would consider planting..."- Michael Dirr, Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs