Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Tuesday's Trees- Winged Elm, Ulmus alata
The first time I saw a Winged Elm we were on our property in South Carolina and there were lots of small saplings sprouting up. Again it was our landscaper who told me about this tree. I have come a long way in the course of a year. It seems taking one tree at a time is the way for me to learn about trees.
This fast growing native tree is adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions, zones 6- 9, part shade to part sun, drought tolerant, moderate salt tolerance, bottomland or terraces. The average height is about 45 feet with a similar spread. There have been some specimens reaching up to 100 feet tall. The growth pattern is that of an upright vase, spreading as it matures. The most distinctive feature of the Winged Elm is the corky wings that protrude along the stems. These wings vary from tree to tree.
The leaves are doubly serrated, elliptical, pinnate venation, and appear alternately along the stem. The margins between the nodes are small. The green leaves turn yellow in the fall, one website claims it to be showy color and another says it is dull. Eventually I will get a photo of the fall color and we can decide!
The flowers are not showy, appearing in the fall. It is a perfect flower, having both male and female reproductive structures. Seed germination is high and it has been known to invade open meadows.
Deer find the stems and leaves nutritious and succulent in the spring when other food is less available. Later in the season the leaves are less digestible.
Dutch Elm disease is a concern with this tree. Other pest issues are scale, mites and powdery mildew.
Turns out I do not have a clear picture of the bark or the full sized tree from our lot. For a good look at the bark check out Vanderbilt- (lots of photos, good one with the bark)
Fun facts- The Creek Indian call this tree the Wahoo. Because it resists splitting, it is used in making high quality hockey sticks. Other uses for this hard wood include furniture, flooring, boxes and crates.
NC State -short description
Duke- comparison of this elm with Slippery Elm and American Elm
LBJ Wildflower Center- distribution and host plant info
US Forestry Department- in conjunction with University of Florida. Line drawings, good info
Virginia Tech-brief description
US Forestry Department Silvics Manual- scientific information, very detailed
next week's tree---Pecan