(14) THE ELM
Of the ELM there are two species, the common or narrow-leaved el (Ulmus campestris, L.), and the Wych or broad (Ulmus Montana, L.) There are many varieties, such as the Dutch much valued for its timber.
The narrow-leaved elm is not very common is Scotland, but in the central districts of England it becomes a handsome tree; and the timber is used for important purposes in ship-building, as well as in the construction of machines and agricultural buildings.
The Wych elm is a hardy tree, of rapid growth; but, unless planted in masses, it seldom produces a straight handsome trunk. It strikes from layers with great facility, and when a branch touches the ground kit is sure to take root. Few trees are more difficult to uproot than Ulmus Montana, and it is rare to see it thrown over by the wind. It has a wide-spreading head, often sloping to one side, and lashing its neighbours with such force that it is sometimes interdicted in mixed plantations. Its timber is more durable than that of the English elm, or of any of the hybrids. It is much used in agricultural carpentry, in rural machinery, and in household furniture.
The Wych elm produces abundance of seeds, which, if sown as soon as they are gathered, often come up the same year; but the English elm and the hybrids produce seeds sparingly, and are usually propagated by layers or by grafting on the Wych elm.
One remarkable difference between the English and Wych elms may be noticed, viz., that the latter never throws up suckers from its roots; and it is therefore peculiarly valuable as a stock for the English elm, and for those varieties which do throw up suckers. There are other those varieties which do throw up suckers.
There are other species and varieties of European elms, and several kinds of American elms, but none are deserving of culture in Britain as timber-trees.
The elm is subject to the ravages of several insects, especially Scolytus destructor.
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