Grow with KARE: The story of the St. Croix Elm

5:16 PM, Aug 23, 2013   |    comments
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AFTON, Minn. - It is remarkable when you come across a huge tree anywhere.

In 1997, Mark Stennes, a Master Arborist from S & S Tree Company, stumbled across this 100+ year old elm tree in Afton. It was really a magnificent find.

The story goes that he was hired to take care of a number of other elms that were dying of Dutch Elm disease on the property. In the middle of all of these dying trees, he found this huge elm that was thriving.

It turns out after many studies of clipping of this tree by the U of M, this elm tree just happens to be "tolerant" of the disease. It is not disease resistant, but if it were to contract it, it would be able to recover.

It was an extraordinary exception. It is 80 feet tall and 175 inches in diameter, an amazing exception! The U took notice and so have growers and now they are replicating it and going to try to bring it to market and they are calling it the St. Croix Elm.

The reason that this is so important is that before the 1970s there were literally 300,000+ elms lining all of the urban landscape of the Twin Cities.

Elms are fabulous urban trees and there is not a canopy like them anywhere. When they all died in the late 1970s and early 1980s of Dutch Elm disease it was really devastating for our state.

If this tree could come to market and people started to plant it again it could really change the urban landscape and bring it back to its glory of tree lined boulevards of the beautiful American Elm.

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