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American Elm Tree Project

Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown


The American Elm has been a part of American history since the founding of our country.   This uniquely American tree followed the pioneers with westward expansion, and almost every city or town eventually had an Elm Street.  In fact, American Elms are the reason there are more Elm Streets than Main Streets.  With the demise of the American Elm due to Dutch Elm disease, the memories of the Elm Streets are fading.  But new varieties of American Elms have been selected in the past 10 years that are tolerant and are just coming on the market.

The Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown has recently adopted the American Elm tree as the focus of a new project and part of its educational mission.  A committee has been formed with the purpose of promoting awareness of the “new” American Elm in the Mahoning Valley.  Specifically, the goals of this project are:

·         Share the history of this uniquely American tree.

·         Promote awareness of the new disease tolerant Elm trees.

·         Encourage individuals to include the Elm tree in their landscape plans.

·         Encourage communities to plant Elm trees in their parks and public spaces

·         Develop an Elm grove in Mill Creek Park as a study collection.

To date, MGCY has planted American Elms in Boardman, Austintown, Liberty, Sharon, and Canfield.  The Club continues to seek communities willing to maintain an American Elm in a public location.  Funding for this phase of the project is covered by a MGCY memorial fund.  It is an ongoing, long term commitment by the Club to have American Elms in the six counties in the Mahoning Valley – Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, and Trumbull County and Lawrence and Mercer in Pennsylvania.

The other long term goal is well under way.  The Club has established a study collection of American Elms, known as “The American Elm Reforestation and Evaluation Project.”  This collection of American Elms includes known varieties that are Dutch-Elm disease tolerant.  The site is the uplands area of Mill Creek Preserve on Western Reserve Road (the former Orvets Sod Farm).  Officials at Mill Creek MetroParks have committed to this joint project.  American Elms are added to the collection as they become available.  The Elm grove also supports other goals of the Committee as well by promoting awareness of the American Elm and encouraging the public to plant them.   Similar projects have recently been initiated in a few New England communities as far as we know but none in the Midwest.


Some Historical American Elms


Elm wood had few uses before the 20th century, so many Elms were left standing and continued to grow, just as forestland in its range was cleared for farming or settlement.  In open settings the Elm spreads its branches widely

Historical associations connected with these already-large Elms made them cultural symbols and led to their continued preservation.  These trees were thus allowed to reach immense sizes.  The following are among the best-known of these huge historical American Elms; for more examples:

The Treaty Elm (Pennsylvania)

The Treaty Elm, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The Treaty Elm was located in what is now Penn Treaty Park.  Here the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn entered into a peace treaty in 1683 with the Lenap Turtle Clan under an Elm tree made more famous by artist Benjamin West.   West incorporated it into his painting after hearing legends about the tree being the location of the treaty. Still, no documentary evidence exists of any treaty Penn signed beneath a particular tree. On March 6, 1810 a great storm blew the tree down. Measurements taken at the time showed it to have a circumference of 24 feet (7.3 m), and its age was estimated to be 280 years. Wood from the tree was made into furniture, canes, walking sticks and various trinkets that Philadelphians kept as relics.

The Washington Elm (Massachusetts)

The Washington Elm, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Legend has it that George Washington took command of the American Continental Army under the Washington Elm in Cambridge on July 3, 1775. The tree survived until the 1920s and "was thought to be a survivor of the primeval forest". So venerated was the Elm that in 1872, when a large branch fell from it, the branch was used to construct a pulpit for a nearby church. The tree, an American White Elm, became a celebrated attraction, with its own plaque, a fence constructed around it and a road moved in order to help preserve it.   The tree was cut down in October 1920 after an expert determined it was dead. The city of Cambridge had plans for it to be "carefully cut up and a piece sent to each state of the country and to the District of Columbia and Alaska," according to The Harvard Crimson.  

In 1896, an alumnus of the University of Washington, obtained a rooted cutting of the Cambridge tree and sent it to Professor Edmund Meany at the university. The cutting was planted, and later cuttings were then taken from it, including one planted on February 18, 1932, the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington, for whom Washington state is named. That tree remains on the campus of the Washington State Capitol.


The Liberty Tree (Massachusetts)

The Liberty Tree, an Elm on Boston Common, became a rallying point for Boston supporters of the American Revolution.


George Washington's Elm (District of Columbia)

George Washington's Elm, Washington, DC.  Supposedly George Washington had a favorite spot under an Elm tree near the United States Capitol Building and from there watched as the Capitol was being constructed. The Elm stood near the Senate wing of the Capitol building until 1948.


The Logan Elm (Ohio)

The Logan Elm near Circleville, Ohio was one of the largest American Elms anywhere. The 65-foot-tall tree had a trunk circumference of 24 feet (7.3 m) and a crown spread of 180 feet.  After being weakened by Dutch Elm disease, the tree died in 1964 from storm damage.  The Logan Elm State Memorial commemorates the site.

In 1774 according to tradition, Chief Logan of the Mingo tribe delivered a speech at a peace-treaty meeting under this Elm.  It is said to be the most famous speech ever given by a Native American.


American Elm Tree Committee


Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown





Arms Tree planting20131106.pdf

The Valley’s Homepage

Make like a tree and leave with an elm won at the fair





         Saturday, August 24, 2013

SPECIAL TO THE VINDICATOR John Schinker. left, and Larry Tooker, members of the American Elm Tree Committee of the Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown, show some of the trees the club will give away in daily drawings at the Canfield Fair. In addition to seedlings, the club also will give away an 8-foot Prairie Expedition American Elm, the first of the new cultivar to become available in the Mahoning Valley.


Staff report


The Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown will give away elm trees at the Canfield Fair.

At the club’s booth in the Floral Building, fairgoers can register for drawings to win an elm seedling. One will be given away each day of the fair, Aug. 28 through Labor Day. At the fair’s end, the club will give away an 8-foot Prairie Expedition Elm cloned in Fargo, N.D.

The American Elm, once one of the most popular trees in America’s landscape, was decimated in the 1960s by Dutch elm disease. Disease-resistant varieties are available today.

Aptly, just outside the Floral Building grows one of the largest American elms in the Valley.

Each year the club donates American elms to Valley communities to showcase new elms and inspire residents to include elms in their landscapes.

The club also will sell elm seedlings at its annual mum sale Sept. 14 at Fellows Riverside Gardens, 123 McKinley Ave., Youngstown.

For information contact Lynn Hoffmann at or 330-774-1888


American Elm Tree Project

This project is directed by the American Elm Committee of the Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown. The Committee was formed in 2009 with the following mission:

vShare the history of this uniquely American tree

vPromote awareness of the new disease resistant elm trees.

vEncourage individuals to include the elm tree in their landscape plans.

vEncourage communities to plant elm trees in their parks and public spaces


The Committee carries out this mission through providing and promoting educational opportunities related to American Elms and two ongoing programs:

vBud KindelanMemorial Tree Program- provides American elm trees for public spaces in 6 counties in the Mahoning Valley: Mahoning, Columbia, Trumbull, Portage, Lawrence, and Mercer.

vAmerican Elm Tree Trial and Evaluation Site - a joint effort in partnership with Mill Creek MetroParks. This program began last year when 4 cultivars were planted at the site located on Western Reserve Road. Disease tolerant American elms will be added as they become available.




                                                                 Princeton Elms,washingtonRoad, NJ