Mar 22, 2022
Backcross: A Return to Elm Street
Play • 29 min

Dutch elm disease (DED) is one of the most commonly known and destructive tree diseases in the world. The disease was first observed in Ohio in 1930, and by 1976, only 34 million of the estimated 77 million elms present in U.S. urban locations remained.

Research on American elm from the 1970s to the present has focused in large part on the identification of American elm individuals that can withstand the DED pathogen. To increase American elm’s long-term recovery as a canopy tree, it is crucial to increase the genetic variation of tolerant elms available for planting in urban and rural settings.

Related Research:


  • Jennifer Koch, Research Biologist, Northern Research Station, Delaware, Ohio
  • Kathleen Knight, Research Ecologist, Northern Research Station, Delaware, Ohio
  • Denny Townsend, Research Geneticist (Retired), USDA ARS, ​​U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, D.C.
  • Dale Lesser, Farmer, Lesser Farms and Orchard, Dexter, Michigan 

Produced by the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station

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