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SoCal Garden Forum: What’s wrong with this elm tree?

What's wrong with this Chinese elm tree?Dear SoCal Gardeners: My mother-in-law gave me this Chinese elm tree (click photo to enlarge) and I planted it about five years ago.

It’s never done that well. It grows fast but the leaves get blackened and the branches break off.

The latest break took off about a third of the tree, and it looks as if it’s rotten inside. There are little reddish marks along most branches, which I imagine are some type of pest.

I don’t want to fight these pests with chemicals. Maybe I don’t water it enough? But I don’t want a tree that needs a bunch of water. Maybe my climate is too humid or cool for an elm to grow easily? I’m a few miles from the ocean and we get the marine layer. If it’s the climate, I’ll just take the rest of the tree down and allow the volunteer oak underneath it to grow up instead.

Fellow SoCal garden enthusiasts: Any suggestions? Insights? Experiences with elms?

(Do you have a SoCal gardening question for this forum? Please send an email to or post below.)

(Photos: Kathy Price-Robinson)

2 Comments on SoCal Garden Forum: What’s wrong with this elm tree?

  1. Hi folks. For some time now i have shown my family garden ornaments trying to find a person interestd in these english products to no avail,what am i doing wrong ?mike cummings.regards.

  2. i think your tree might be possessed

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