I purchased property with a beautiful tree in the garden. This tree needs heavy pruning but I afraid to do so before knowing what is it and how to approach that.

I tried to google it and the closest match I found seem to be an 'elm tree'. Is that right? Does anyone here can recognise and give more details?

The only extra details:

  • does not produce (visible) flowers,
  • location: Northern Europe (Denmark)
  • the picture was taken in a growing season (it looses leaves for winter)

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Most recent pictures / out of season (23 February 2019). You can see that tree is waking up to life:

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  • Every tree produce flowers, maybe you didn't notice them: they could be small. Is this an old picture or it is evergreen? – Giacomo Catenazzi Feb 21 '19 at 9:28
  • Could you get a more close up photo of leaves and attachment? You can also make now a photo of branches and gems (close up). I would tend more into: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hornbeam – Giacomo Catenazzi Feb 21 '19 at 9:32
  • Need to know when this was taken, but I can say its not Elm (this tree has composite leaves, which Elm doesn't,and anyway, Dutch Elm disease has ensured mature Elms no longer exist) - Hornbeam is a contender,but only if this photo was taken during the growing season. – Bamboo Feb 21 '19 at 11:24
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi: The 2 middle pictures are not enough? – Lukasz Feb 21 '19 at 11:27
  • @Bamboo: Yes, this photo was taken in a growing season (May / June) and th tree looses leaves in the winter. – Lukasz Feb 21 '19 at 11:28

You are right about suspecting an Elm (genus Ulmus) from you online searches. The leaves definitely resemble an Elm species. The large "knot" in the trunk with different bark above and below suggests that your tree is a grafted specimen as well.

I searched for "Elm" and "Grafted" and came up with one example: Ulmus glabra 'Camperdownii' which is a grafted "weeping" cultivar, so Elm trees can be grafted as such. Although I am not sure about the species involved in the tree you have, it does seem similar. I will leave a couple of links below that may lead you further in the right direction.

Your additional photos show early flower buds, and they do appear to be very similar to those of "Wych Elm" (Ulmus glabra) and also "English Elm" "Ulmus procera" (a synonym of Ulmus minor - a very "polymorphic" European elm). I have attached two additional links showing the flower buds, leaves, and seeds that may help you to further confirm your tree's identity.





  • Who grafts elms though??? – Wayfaring Stranger Feb 23 '19 at 17:40
  • 1
    Ulmus glabra 'Camperdownii' is an example of a grafted elm. Apparently you can buy them and they are all grafted specimens. Not only can elms be grafted, but they are quite variable with respect to their form. Many elms also form natural hybrids easily, which further complicates things. However, the flower buds in the posted photos appear to be from an elm tree species. – user22542 Feb 23 '19 at 17:46
  • @WayfaringStranger: I assume to reduce the size – Giacomo Catenazzi Feb 24 '19 at 16:07
  • @user22542 We've elms here in US, not Dutch AFAIK. Not quite so nice as the ones that used to make cathedrals of our streets, but definitely elmy. Didn't realize problem was severe enough elsewhere to require grating, especially as I like my elms 20 meters tall. <---Giacomo Catenazzi – Wayfaring Stranger Feb 24 '19 at 18:23
  • The grafting is used to continue the ornamental elm variety. Yes, Dutch elm disease is everywhere. But, some trees continue to survive in isolated locations. I have an American elm in my front yard that is 15 meters tall and so far continues to evade the disease. – user22542 Feb 24 '19 at 18:33

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