Thread: Camperdown Elm

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  1. #1

    Camperdown Elm

    I planted a Camperdown Elm 2 years ago. I know that these trees are slow growers, but it is not growing up. All the growth that it has is hoizontally. I continue to edge out around the tree, but I don't think I can do it again this year. The tree looks more like ground cover instead of what it actually is. My question: given the typ of tree, would it be a bad idea to prune back some of the branches to keep it from spreading too much?

    Here is a picture of the tree shortly after I planted it.

    Here is a picture of it this last winter.

    You can see how it is spreading out. I can supply a spring picture if people want.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Oak Trees are neat!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Lincoln, NE

    RE: Camperdown Elm

    The Camperdown elm is noted for its weeping habit. Size and growth rate can depend on what tree it is grafted to.

    In looking at the photos you posted, is the tree planted at the proper depth? I am not familiar with this tree, but it does not appear to flare out much as the main stem goes into the ground. If a tree is planted to deep, that will slow growth rate.

    I would contact the nursery that you purchased it from and find out what tree it was grafted to and what to except as far as height and growth rate.

    Here is some info on pruning camperdown elms.

    Please do post some pics of your tree this spring! I would really like to see them.

  3. #3

    RE: Camperdown Elm

    I will contact the supplier and see what it was grafted to. As far as planting depth, I followed the instructions that the supplier gave with the tree. I don't recall what they are now, but I do remember that I was very adamant about following them. I really wanted this tree to turn out nice. Here are some photos that I took yesterday.

    The area that I have mulched under the tree is where the growth was last June/July.

    Here is a closer shot of the center of the tree showing how contorted it already is.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Oak Trees are neat!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Lincoln, NE

    RE: Camperdown Elm

    Wow.... That is cool! When you call the nursery you might inquire about prunning. I would tell you to prune branches that are crossed or touching, but given the growth habit of the tree I'm not sure the same rules apply.

    Anyone have some helpful tips on prunning weeping trees?

    In the previous pics you posted, you can see the graft union (where the bark changes color and pattern). The good news is usually trees are not grafted too far about the root flare (the junction where roots spread out from the trunk).

    You could take a screw driver and push it into the soil next to the trunk to see if you can locate a main lateral root. Then measure the distance that you pushed the screwdriver into the soil. Those lateral roots should be 2 to 4 inches from the surface. Careful when using a screw driver, as you don't want to injure the roots. You might do this after a rain or after you have watered the tree. Make sure that you pull back the mulch away from the trunk.

    If the tree is buried too deep, it is small enough that transplanting it should not be huge ordeal. Hope this helps and feel free to post more questions


  5. #5
    The Camperdown Elm, planted near the Boathouse in 1872, has developed into a stunning specimen. No more than 12 feet high, it resembles an oversized bonsai. It is the most famous specimen tree in Prospect Park. The weeping shape of this elm is extremely attractive and a peek under the canopy reveals an amazing branching structure. The many cavities in the branches and the size of the trunk show that this is an older tree.

    Between 1835 and 1840, the Earl of Camperdown’s head forester, David Taylor, discovered a mutant contorted branch growing along the ground in the forest at Camperdown House, in Dundee, Scotland. The Earl’s gardener produced the first Camperdown Elm by grafting it to the trunk of a Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra) - the only elm species that the Camperdown will accept as a root stock. Every Camperdown Elm in the world is the product of a cutting taken from that original mutant cutting and is grafted onto a Wych Elm trunk, usually 4-6 feet above ground.

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