Cedar Elm Tree Pros and Cons, Care, Diseases & Problems

A native deciduous tree to North America, the Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia) has a rounded shape and can grow to heights of 50 to 90 feet. In the wild, trees as tall as 118 feet have been found. The stiff, coarse-textured, dark-green leaves turn brilliant yellow to reddish-brown before falling off in the fall. Winged seeds are produced by the end of summer or early fall after the unnoticeable, green, summer blossoms.

Cedar Elm Tree Pros and Cons

In the Southern United States and Northeastern Mexico, Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia), also known as Basket Elm, Red Elm, Southern Rock Elm, or Olmo (Spanish), grows quickly to medium or large sizes. Although it also grows on dry limestone hills, it is typically found on damp, limestone soils near water channels with other bottomland trees. The plywood is sold as rock elm and is made of a mixture of this sturdy wood and other southern elm species. Numerous bird species consume its seeds. In their natural habitat, cedar elms are frequently planted as beautiful shade trees.


Low upkeep

When established, cedar elms require less maintenance than some other tree species. They have a good level of insect resistance and excellent resistance to Dutch elm disease, which affects many other elm species.

Resistant to drought

The resilience of cedar elm trees to drought is one of its most impressive qualities. These trees are a fantastic option for areas with water constraints or erratic rainfall because of their extraordinary capacity to preserve water.

Offers shade

Cedar elm trees are well known for their wide canopies, which offer lots of shade during the hot summer months. This natural shade not only makes it cooler outside but also provides the ideal setting for meetings and recreational pursuits.

Autumn foliage

Cedar elms, sometimes known as Texas elms, are medium-sized deciduous trees that grow to 50–70 feet. The characteristic serrated leaves and gray-brown bark of these trees give any outdoor space a touch of rustic charm.


Cedar Elm is a resilient tree that can withstand harsh conditions.


Potential for Allergy

Despite the fact that cedar elm trees are not as allergenic as other trees, they can still discharge pollen during their flowering season. 

Aphids and minor elm leaf beetle damage

Aphids and minor elm leaf beetle infestation might appear on Cedar Elm from time to time.


Mildew is susceptible to infect Cedar Elm.

Not tolerant of damp soil

Cedar Elm cannot tolerate soil that is damp.


Start by taking into account the possible size of the tree. You should pick a spot with plenty of room for its growth because it grows tall and wide very quickly compared to other trees.

Keep the tree away from the outside of your home. Additionally, avoid planting it next to any outside structures or electricity lines in your neighborhood.

When choosing the ideal site for your cedar elm, sunlight is also necessary. The cedar elm tree thrives in the sun, yet it may grow in a variety of environments.

Make sure the hole you create is larger than the tree's root ball. The soil can be made more pliable by massaging the tree's roots, which will facilitate the roots' better insertion into the substrate.

Water the tree well and add mulch around its base.

Diseases & Problems

Cedar Elm trees are susceptible to the following conditions:

Dutch Elm Disease (DED) 

Compared to other elm species, Cedar Elms are more resistant to the disease, but they are still susceptible. A fungus carried by elm bark beetles is the root cause of DED. It can cause the tree's branches and leaves to droop, become yellow, and ultimately die.


It is possible for Cedar Elms to contract the fungal disease anthracnose, which can result in leaf curling, browning, and spotting. In humid and rainy weather, it can be worse. Its spread can be limited by performing proper trimming and keeping excellent air circulation.

Root rot

Root deterioration and decreased overall tree health can result from various forms of root rot fungi infecting Cedar Elm trees. Thinner foliage, reduced development, and eventually declining growth are possible symptoms. Root rot can be avoided by ensuring proper soil drainage and avoiding overwatering.

Powdery Mildew

This fungal disease causes Cedar Elm leaves to turn white and powdery. The entire appearance of the tree may be impacted along with leaf distortion. Powdery mildew can be avoided by regularly watering the tree's base and making sure there is enough space between trees.


Localized regions of dead tissue called "cankers" can be found on branches or trunks. They may be bacterial or fungal diseases that weaken the affected areas and increase the risk of structural problems like branch dieback.

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