Emerald Sunshine Elm
Ulmus propinqua ‘JFS-Bieberich’
Elms were once America’s favorite tree. I predict they soon will be again. Dutch Elm Disease nearly wiped out the original plantings, but new disease resistant cultivars are coming out faster than spring this year. Elms have been covered in general in this column, but it’s time the cultivars are highlighted. One of the best new arrivals on the market is the Emerald Sunshine Elm, ulmus propinqua ‘JFS-Bieberich’. First of all, what a great name!
Honestly, many of these elm cultivars are new to me but my good friend, Nancy Buley, from JFSchmidt Nursery helped me out with the photos of the Emerald Sunshine. We are growing it but I wanted more information. OK, call me crazy but as I opened those photos, I caught myself oohing and ahhing. The tree form, leaf shape, summer and fall color; oh, this could be the perfect tree… time will tell. Right now it appears to be the smallest and slowest growing elm selection. That is good because, frankly, elms can grow like weeds. Everyone wants a small to medium maturing tree, upright growth, no fruit, great fall color, leaves that drop and decompose fast, easy to prune and well behaved. So far, that is what I see in Emerald Sunshine elm.
Also, like most elms, they tolerate drought and poor soils. This one is known to be highly resistant to insects and disease, including that horrible DED. The foliage emerges with slight reddish edges and matures to a deep dark green. Fall color is bright yellow, highlighted by purple tips and along the margins. What a gem! Plant and elm enthusiast, Steve Bieberich selected this cultivar as the best performer on the arid plains of Oklahoma grown from seed collected from China. It has a strong central leader, with upright symmetrical growth and habit to make it a potentially easy care tree for streets and landscapes. Please keep your eyes open for this one and let me know your thoughts.Let me know if you have any experience with these or other trees that you would like to pass on.
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