American Elm

Scientific Name: Ulmus americana ‘Valley Forge’

Family: Ulmaceae

Origin: Eastern US

Valley Forge American Elm
Valley Forge American Elm

Why is it called Valley Forge Elm? Valley Forge, which is located near Philadelphia, is where General George Washington’s 12,000-man Continental Army camped during The Revolutionary War in the winter of 1777. More than 1,700 soldiers died from starvation and disease. The Valley Forge Elm was cultivated by the Agricultural Research Service in Maryland because of its resistance to Dutch Elm disease. These trees are survivors just like George Washington and his soldiers who survived the winter of 1777 in Valley Forge. That’s why it’s called the Valley Forge Elm! (Personal communication from the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA to Noah Werning)

Common Names: Valley Forge Elm or American Elm

Mature Height: 60-70 feet

Mature Width/Spread: 50-60 feet

What does an American Elm look like? It has a straight trunk that divides into many large branches, which makes the tree look like a large vase.

Leaves: Alternate green leaves 3 to 6 inches long and 1 to 3 inches wide. The leaves have veins that travel to the edge of the leaf. The edges of the leaf are serrated and the tip of the leaf is pointed.

In the fall, the leaves become: green to yellow-green

Historical tidbit: The American Elm tree, which lined America’s streets was devastated by Dutch Elm disease, which is transmitted by the Elm Bark Beetle. The disease prevents the flow of water and nutrients that results in death.

Did you know that…

  • this tree tolerates salt, poor soil conditions, drought and pollution
  • the Valley Forge Elm is the most resistant to Dutch Elm Disease than any other American Elm
American Elm Leaves
American Elm Leaves