Growth Facts

Frontier Elm

Ulmus carpinifolia x U. parvifolia 'Frontier'
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Dutch Elm disease resistant! Frontier Elm is a tough, mid-sized shade tree that ought to be used more often. Plant it as a yard specimen to shade a picnic table or quiet sitting area or as a streettree to share some natural beauty and shade with the neighborhood. Frontier’s glossy, emerald-green foliage remains vibrant all season, and in fall it turns a rich burgundy-red. The color lasts a long time. Then, when cold weather sets in and it’s time to make preparations for winter, the tiny leaves drop cleanly and most of them simply blow away, making cleanup a breeze!

Growth Facts

The Story

When the devastating Dutch Elm disease struck our noble American Elm Trees in the 1930s, it was the beginning of the end of an era. The days of streets lined with these grand old fountain-like trees were over. However, not all tree experts were ready to give up. Dr. Alden “Denny” Townsend of the USDA was one who went to work testing American Elms that were resistant to the disease and also breeding new Elm Trees from different species around the world that were resistant. He produced the Frontier Elm by crossing the Asian Lacebark Elm with the European Smoothleaf Elm in 1971.

The Details

Dr. Townsend’s hybrid Frontier Elm was an interesting one, because it involved a cross between a spring-flowering tree (Smoothleaf Elm) and a fall-blooming tree (Lacebark Elm). The new tree that resulted rarely flowers at all, which is good news for the allergy sufferer in your family. Because it rarely blooms, it is also never in danger of becoming a reseeding nuisance!

How to Grow

Choose a sunny spot for your Frontier Elm to promote dense, symmetrical growth and intensered fall color. This tree will be relatively drought tolerant once established, but will need regular water during establishment. Irrigate with the Bower & Branch Elements™ Watering System during the first couple of years in your landscape to encourage a strong root system to develop. Feed annually with our Elements™ Fertilizer. The Frontier Elm is a good choice for challenging urban sites and is tolerant of alkaline soils, de-icing salts, air pollution, and winter lows to -20°F. In Elm trials, it has been a solid performer all over the country, from California to Ohio to Maryland.

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale


Size: B

Size B

Size: C

Size C

This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.

Size B Trees:

8-10' tall. Grown in our #15 tree container these are fast growing giants. Limbed up high for street tree planting, Strong caliper greater than 1 1/2".

Size C Trees:

10-12’ tall. This Elm Tree has full branching and is limbed up high for street tree planting. Shipped in our #25 tree container with a 2” plus caliper.

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