This is the fifth in a series of Nature Notes columns on Frederick County’s trees. Discover Frederick’s diverse array of trees on a self-guided walking tour. To see all of the trees, it should take about 1 to 1½ hours. Currently there are 27 trees; a list and a map are available at visitFrederick.org.
American elm (Ulmus Americana)The American elm has the stunning vase-like shape when mature that is indicative of elms. Frederick City arborist, Tom Rippeon, is treating this elm, pictured, and many other elms in the city to prevent Dutch elm disease, caused by the fungus that wiped out 75 percent of the beautiful street trees in the U.S. between 1930 and 1989. Before that, American elms lined the avenues and boulevards of cities and neighborhoods, arching over the streets to provide tunnel-like shade and distinctive elegance.
Foreign species that cause problems in ecosystems where they are not native are called “invasive species,” and the fungus that killed the elms was just that. The demise of the elms by the invasive fungus shows the importance of adhering to the laws and regulations designed to minimize invasive foreign species, such as never transporting plant materials and fresh fruits or vegetables from one isolated island or continent to another. Much is at stake.
This tree can be found at coordinates: 39°25’06.8”N 77°25’30.3”W.