Siberian Elm

We have a tree in the backyard that the neighbours call a “shit tree.”

The scientific name is more prosaic: Ulmus pumila also known as a Siberian Elm.

This tree is constantly getting on our nerves, dropping papery little seeds that swell up in the rain and plug up the eaves, dropping dead leaves during the summer and fall. It has a lot of dead branches that we can’t easily remove.

We have a love hate relation ship with this “weed tree.” It provides shade to the back of the house and green cover. It is also the location of the squirrel house that has housed dozens of different squirrels over the ten years that it’s been up.

This tree got hit particularly hard by the Toronto Ice storm on Dec 24, 2013. I remember opening the back door that night, the freezing rain had just started falling, and a branch from this tree, weighed down by a half inch coat of ice, hung like a menacing chandelier just a few feet above my head.

That night, we slept in the living room awakened occasionally by the thud of falling limbs. This is what the tree looked like the following morning.

The shit tree on the day after the ice storm.

It still had ice clinging to it, and several thick limbs had snapped off because of the weight.

It put out leaves this spring, and seeds which the squirrels have been busy eating.

Squirrel eating seeds from a Siberian Elm.

As annoying as it is, by now I’m almost rooting for our shit tree.

We’re going to get an arborist to remove the dead limbs—and although not everyone agrees—I myself hope it recovers.

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