Wych Elm Sapling Trees
- Big native tree.
- Ideal for dry soil & cold spots.
- Good for hedging.
- Max. Height: 30m
- Bareroot Delivery Only: Nov-Mar.
Ulmus glabra: Wych / Scotch / Feathered Elm Hedging Plants
Delivered by Mail Order Direct from our Nursery with a Year Guarantee
Wych Elm, Ulmus glabra, is a hardy native Elm that can be used as a hedge plant on fertile, damp soils, although it isn't suitable for waterlogged sites. When it is clipped as a hedge, it will not attract Elm Bark Beetles.
Wych Elm will reach 30 metres if it grows freely as a tree.
Browse our selection of native hedging or our full range of hedging.
Bareroot plants are only delivered during winter (Nov-March).
All our hedge plants are measured by their height in centimetres above the ground (the roots aren't measured).
Spacing a Wych Elm hedge:
Plant at 3 plants per metre, 33cm apart.
A very hardy, large native tree. Grown as a tree, it tends to have a short trunk that breaks up into large branches a couple of metres above the ground. These will be fairly upright with spreading side branches, so mature trees are often as wide as they are tall. Wych Elm can also be clipped as a hedge, which looks great in summer with its lush, big serrated leaves.
Did You Know?
Ulmus glabra is native from Scotland to Russia and is found in the Alps, especially around Switzerland.The Gaelic name for it is Leam and the Romans called Loch Lomond "Leamanonius Lacus", Lake of the Elms. The word Wych, like wicker, is derived from the Old English wice, to bend. It is not though to be related to the word witch, which derives from wicce - if it were, then the Wiccan religion should surely feature woven baskets much more prominently.
The timber is highly resistant to rotting and was once prized for water pipes and gutters. The leaves are good fodder for animals, and can be added to salads when they first open in spring.
It is susceptible to Dutch Elm disease, but the beetles that spread the fungus are less attracted to it than the English Elm, Ulmus procera, which was almost wiped out after the disease spread here in the 1960's; almost all the remaining English Elms are in Preston Park in Brighton, while mature Wych Elm trees can be found dotted around the UK, often in exposed or coastal locations where the wind is too strong for a flying beetle.
Elms are important for the preservation of the White-letter Hairstreak butterfly.
Growing Wych Elm plants:
This tough tree is really useful for dry soil, be it sandy or rocky, and it will be happy in the coldest frost pocket. It is suitable for coastal and exposed areas and it will do pretty well on chalk. It is fairly shade tolerant, but we recommend it for sunny spots - hornbeam makes a similar hedge if your site is very shady.
Prepare your site before planting:
It is good to dig over the area where you plant a hedge several months in advance, especially if the soil is poor. Destroy the weeds first: nettles, brambles and ground elder are tough and a glyphosate based weed-killer is the best way to remove them. Then dig the soil over; remove rocks, roots and other rubbish. Mix in well rotted compost or manure down to the depth of about 2 spades. If your soil is rich, you don't have to dig it over, but killing all the weeds is still necessary.
Watch our video on how to plant a country hedge for full details. The instruction to cut the plants in half after planting only applies to thorny native hedging and plants in the conservation hedge mix: this isn't necessary for Wych Elm.
Remember to water establishing plants during dry weather for at least a year after planting.
Hedge Planting Accessories:
Prepare your site for planting by killing the weeds and grass with Neudorff WeedFree Plus.
You can buy a hedge planting pack with sheets of mulch fabric and pegs to hold it down.
If you are planting in an area with rabbit and/or deer, you will need to use a plastic spiral guard for each plant, supported by a bamboo cane.
If your soil quality is poor, we recommend using mycorrhizal "friendly fungi" on the roots of new trees and shrubs.
You can also improve your soil with bonemeal organic fertiliser and Growmore.
After you have planted your Wych Elm hedge, the most important thing to do is water it in dry weather. You will also need to weed around the plants. Watering should be thorough, so the ground is soaked. Let the soil almost dry out before watering again. Watering & weeding will be necessary for at least a year after planting.
Trimming Country hedge plants:
From the winter after planting onwards, your young hedge should be trimmed lightly once every winter, until it is mature. When it is fully grown, you can clip it at anytime.
Special notes on caring for Wych Elm hedges:
Wych Elm is a tough hedge plant that shouldn't need special attention once it has established. If you didn't use a mulch fabric, it is beneficial to mulch around the base of the hedge each year.
Hygiene & Diseases:
Dead, damaged or diseased wood can be pruned off as soon as it appears.
Disinfect your pruning tools between every cut if there is any sign of disease.
Burn or dispose of any diseased material, do not compost it.