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elm tree query

Can you help I moved to a house with a 3-4metre elm tree which has looked really healthy until this spring. Each year we have had it pruned to keep it small. It is in the corner of the garden close to some old apple trees (3m height so not too large)

First I noticed that the mistletoe that was attached to it had dried up, gone crispy and died, so I cut it off. Now the top new branches of the tree, the leaves are all brown and shrivelled and look dead, lower leaves are starting to brown at the edges.

I am a very amateur gardener so would appreciate any advice on this.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,968
    I’m afraid it may have reached the size at which it is attacked by the beetle that spreads the deadly virus. That’s why the countryside around here has lots of young elm saplings but sadly never any big ones any more 😢 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,729

    The elm was once a very common tree in Britain. But it got virtually wiped out by Dutch elm disease way back in the 1960s (?).  The disease was carried by a beetle which itself carried a fungus (I think). When the beetle chewed into the elm tree it infected the tree with a deadly disease.

    A few trees survived. Some died back but their roots survived and would send up suckers from time to time.

    Unfortunately, when the suckers reached a certain height (about the height of your tree) they were big enough to attract the attentions of the beetle, got infected and died again. As suckers appeared, the whole process was repeated.

    I think that this is what has happened to your tree.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
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