Do Cedar Elm Trees Lose Their Leaves?

You are probably wondering whether or not cedar elm trees lose their leaves. Look no further. We have researched all about cedar elm trees for you.

Cedar Elm trees lose most of their leaves in the fall. This is in areas of North America that experience a winter season. Otherwise, cedar elms will not lose their leaves unless there is an underlying problem.

Don't stop here. Continue reading to learn more about cedar elm trees, such as whether or not they grow quickly, if they are good trees, when and why they lose their leaves, and more.

Beautiful Cedar Elm tree in urban park in Fall season with stunning yellow fall foliage color. Do Cedar Elm Trees Lose Their Leaves

Cedar Elm Trees

Cedar Elm trees are native to the United States, and they can withstand adverse conditions. They can handle wet soil as well as drought. Cedar elm trees have the smallest dark-green leaves compared to all other native elms.

Cedar elm trees are known as "cedar" to most, but there are differences. One difference between American elm trees and cedar elm trees is the time of year they flower. American elm trees blossom in the spring, while cedar elm trees have groups of light-green flowers all over that bloom in the late summer or early fall, depending on where you live.

These trees are deciduous and perennial but low-maintenance or what is also known as "drought-tolerant." Cedar elm trees are native to North America, more specifically, Texas. They can be seen most commonly in Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Eastern and Southern Oklahoma, Southwestern Tennessee, and Western Mississippi.

Cedar elm trees lose their leaves in areas that experience a winter climate. This includes the growing zones where cedar elms grow best, zones six through nine. Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee experience a fall and winter season; therefore, you can expect to see the leaves fall from your cedar elm if you live in one of these areas.

If you live somewhere that does not experience the temperature changes necessary to be considered winter weather and the leaves on your cedar elm are falling off, you may have a deeper problem. Your tree could be damaged or dying if this is the case. Keep in mind that cedar elms are hardy trees, so there is likely an underlying problem if your cedar elm is unexpectedly losing its leaves.

Panorama view beautiful Texas Cedar Elm tree in urban park in Fall season. Stunning yellow fall foliage color

More About Cedar Elms

Cedar Elm trees are full, beautiful, and a great addition as long as they are planted where they have plenty of space and the right climate. Full sun for at least six hours is necessary for cedar elm trees to thrive. Something else that is awesome about cedar elm trees is that they will grow in soil that other trees won't. Cedar elm trees grow best in moist, sandy, alkaline, acidic, well-drained clay soil.

The cedar elm produces small green fruit. This fruit leaves behind seeds for the wild squirrels, deer, pheasants, turkeys, and birds, amongst other creatures, to enjoy. If you end up having a cedar elm spring up too close to a mature tree, cut down the seedling to ensure the mature tree continues to get the energy it needs.

Why Do Cedar Elm Trees Lose Their Leaves?

Cedar elm trees lose most of their leaves during the fall. This is normal. The good thing is that since the leaves are smaller, you do not have to rake or get rid of the leaves because they decompose relatively quickly.

Not all planting zones experience winter weather, but examples of where you may see a cedar elm lose its leaves are in zones six and seven and sometimes zone eight too. Cedar elms lose their leaves either after the blooming season is over and it is fall or winter or because there is a problem such as a disease within the tree.

One benefit of not clearing the leaves in your yard is that decaying leaves are good for the environment. They turn into a natural mulch which helps create good soil in the long run. Leaves on the ground end up releasing carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.

Close-up full frame view texture on Texas Cedar Elm trees, leaves are turning to yellow from green.

Why is my elm tree losing leaves in the summer?

If your elm tree loses leaves in the summer, it may not be a good sign. There is a disease called Dutch elm disease caused by insect infestation. An example of insects that elms are invaded by or susceptible to include but are not limited to spider-mites, beetles (more specifically the elm seed bugs), and aphids.

Dutch elm disease causes the leaves on your elm tree to turn yellow or brown up to the top, or crown, of the tree. Leaves fall off due to Dutch elm disease.

The late spring or summer is an excellent time to check your elm tree for disease. You can check for Dutch elm disease by peeling back some of the bark on a branch or piece of a twig and looking for vertical purple or dark brown streaks.

Cutting off a twig or small branch to check for a brown ring around the outer wood, which is indicative of disease, is an alternative way to check. On another note, if the leaves on your elm tree look white in the summertime, you probably have an issue with a fungus.

Environmental changes can impact your elm tree losing leaves in the summer too. If your cedar elm is not getting enough water or too much shade and not enough sun, it will likely lose its leaves.

One good thing about cedar elm trees losing their leaves is that they are small, so you do not have to rake them. They will compost much faster than typical elm leaves.

Are cedar elms fast-growing?

Cedar Elm trees grow between thirteen and twenty-four inches each year. This is considered to have a medium growth rate. They grow to be between forty and sixty feet across and are fifty to seventy feet tall at maturity!

Cedar elm trees usually live for one hundred years on average. You can buy fertilizer that is specifically for elm trees.

Click here to see this elm fertilizer on Amazon

Are cedar elms good trees?

Cedar elm trees are good because they are hardy, provide shade, and grow in places that other trees can't grow. The wood of cedar elms has an extreme shock resistance as well.

Cedar elm is used for various reasons, such as boxes, fence posts, veneer, furniture, bowls, bee frames, and caskets, to name a few. In some cases, it is combined with other hardwood.

Cedar elm trees are an excellent choice if you have an area with full sun that will not invade power lines or anything above it since they grow to be so tall. They are also hardy, and the leaves they shed are quite small.

Another reason cedar elms are good trees is that they live for a long time. They grow relatively quickly and grow to be quite tall as well. Cedar elm trees provide birds and small creatures with seeds which is beneficial in its way.

Beautiful Texas Cedar Elm tree in urban park in Fall season. Stunning yellow fall foliage color

How do you prune a cedar elm?

When it comes to how to prune a cedar elm tree, you have a few options. You can use a pruning saw, reciprocating saw, a handsaw or chainsaw, pruning shears, bypass pruners, or other various clippers as long as they are strong enough and sharp enough to cut through the wood of a cedar elm.

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Why Prune Cedar Elm Trees?

The reason you should prune a cedar elm tree is to prevent the branches and trunks from rubbing up against each other. This causes them to break, so you want the most promising branches to stay to get the most energy, and that is why you prune away the weaker branches.

It is best not to prune cedar elms to limit their size but rather to prevent branches and trunks from coming in contact with each other. The optimal time of year to prune a cedar elm is late spring.

One reason it is suggested to start pruning in the late spring is that the wounds have time to heal. Wounds are the places in the tree that have been pruned and will need time to heal. Another reason we suggest starting in the early spring is to prevent elm bark beetles or other pests which can potentially infest your tree otherwise.

If you forget to trim your cedar elm and it is early and already summertime, that should be okay. They are tough trees. You should also trim any damaged or discolored limbs as well.

If you would like to learn more about how to prune a cedar elm tree, check out our post, "How To Prune A Cedar Elm Tree."

Cedar elm trees should be pruned about one time every three years. Doing so will prevent future issues with your tree or trees. If you prune cedar elm trees too often, you will likely slow the tree's growth process and development.

Can elm trees be topped?

You should not top an elm tree unless you want to kill it. Other than pruning, topping an elm is the only way to stop it from growing. If you only want to reduce the size of an elm, you should prune it instead of topping it.

An upward view of the tall trees of northern California. Do Cedar Elm Trees Lose Their Leaves


Cedar elm trees do lose their leaves in places that experience winter. The small leaves turn yellow unless the climate does not change as drastically, such as in the southern part of North America, where the leaves stay green year-round. Sometimes there is a deeper problem such as disease throughout the tree or in certain spots.

Before you go, check out the following posts that you might be interested in:

How Fast Do Elms Grow And How Long Do They Live? [By Type Of Elm]

11 Gorgeous Trees That Like Wet Soil And Shade

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