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Cedar ElmUlmus crassifolia

  • Northern Red Oak - Quercus rubra
  • Cedar Elm
  • Cedar Elm
  • Cedar Elm
The cedar elm serves dual purposes. It is a lovely tree that provide nice shade, but it is also very hardy in adverse conditions — tolerating both drought and wet soil. It has been commonly used as a street tree in the desert southwest due to its ability to survive in difficult soil types with very little care.

Unfortunately, this tough beauty is facing a difficult battle with the Dutch elm disease.

Hardiness Zones

The cedar elm can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 6–9. View Map

Tree Type

This tree is considered both a shade tree and an ornamental tree. It features a spreading canopy capable of blocking sunlight and adds visual interest and beauty to landscaping.

Mature Size

The cedar elm grows to a height of 50–70' and a spread of 40–60' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The cedar elm grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils. It is very drought-tolerant but can also grow in ground that is periodically saturated.


This tree:
  • Features lustrous dark green leaves that are 1–2" long and are stiff and rough to the touch.
  • Blooms late summer–early fall, with clusters of light-green blossoms.
  • Yields small, round green fruit.
  • Grows in a rounded or vase shape.

Wildlife Value

Seeds from the cedar elm are eaten by wild turkeys, pheasants, quail, squirrels, deer and songbirds. Dead cedar elms provide nesting sites for cavity-dwelling birds.


The cedar elm has been a favorite street tree for towns in the desert southwest due to its ability to survive in difficult soil types with very little care.