How to Grow an Elm Tree from a Seed

Elm trees are deciduous shade trees that can live up to 300 years. They are widely used as shade trees. Elm seeds can be germinated without any planting treatment. The seeds collected during spring can be germinated in the same season. However, American Elm will remain dormant until the next season.

Seed Collection and Storage

Elm seeds or samaras can be collected from the ground as soon as they fall or directly from the branches. American Elm samaras fall within 300 feet of the parent tree, while the rock elm samaras fall within 100 to 150 feet of the parent tree.

In order to plant an elm tree, freshly collected seeds should be air-dried for a few days before germination. They should be stored at low temperatures with adequate moisture in sealed containers.

Pre-Germination Measures

Most of the elm species require no pre-planting treatment. However, they should receive cold stratification for 2 to 3 months for improved germination.


The seeds collected in spring normally germinate in the same season and do not require any sowing treatment. However, the following measures create a favourable environment for growth. The sown bed should be kept moist until the germination is complete. 1-year-old seedlings can be utilized for field planting. In order to improve the survival of seedlings in semiarid regions, the trees should be transferred from the seedbeds into containers after 1 year.