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Camperdown Elm


FAMILY: Ulmaceae

This tree in Colorado Camperdown Elm is cold hardy, suffering more from summer drought than winter cold .

Hardiness Zones 4 to 6.

Growth habit Growth habit is weeping and round headed. Often the weeping habit is contorted. It is often grafted at 6’ on American elm stock in the United States. Height growth is 15 to 25 feet. Its crown diameter is often greater than its height.

Foliage Alternate; simple, oblong-ovate to obovate, 3” to 7” long, 1 ½ to 4” wide, abruptly acuminate (pointed at tip), unequal at base, double serrate, dark green, bronze color in fall.

Bark Lower truck is typical of American elm. Grey with deep, intersecting ridges. Above the graft is the blocky and cross checked characteristics of the “Camperdown” elm. It is interesting to note the differences in elm bark characteristics above and below the graft which occurs at above and below the graft which occurs at around 6 feet.

Twigs Long and pendulous.

Insects and diseases A cultivar of the Wych Elm, ‘Camperdownii’ is susceptible to Dutch Elm disease. However there are still many examples to be found in parks and gardens across the British Isles as it often avoids detection by the Scolytae beetle (a major vector of Dutch Elm Disease) because of its diminutive height. In North America it often escapes infection possibly because the American vectors of the disease do not feed on Wych Elm; however its leaves are heavily damaged there by the Elm Leaf Beetle, Elm Yellows, and disfigured by leaf-mining and leaf-rolling insects, such as the Elm casebearer.

Cultivars Camperdown elm is a cultivar from the species Ulmus glabra, Scotch Elm/Wych Elm.

Landscape value Used as an accent, this tree can be interesting in parks or large yards. Kids would enjoy it as a “hiding” or meeting place. It is unique visually but it doesn’t provide any shade value. The cultivar requires a large open space in order to develop fully, and so is not recommended for small home grounds.

Interesting features The trees origin is apparently a seedling found at the Camperdown House near Dundee, Scotland in the first half of the 19th century.

Information sources
Michael Dirr, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (University of Georgia, 1998)
Philip Hoefer, Fort Collins, CO, Personal observations

Photo credits
Phillip Hoefer
Virginia Lohr, Professor, Washington State University