An elm tree has coarse bark that is between light and dark gray. The leaves of an elm tree are oval-shaped and have a jagged, saw-like edge. Also, the leaves alternate on both sides of the shoot.
The majority of elm species are between 30 and 70 feet tall, and have a spread width between 30 and 60 feet. However, the elms of the American elm species typically grow to be between 80 and 130 feet tall with a spread between 60 and 120 feet. Most elms are in an upright form and resemble a vase. However, there are some elm species that have a round shape.
Elm tree flowers bloom at different times during the year. If an elm tree blooms in the summer or fall, the flowers are covered by the leaves. An elm tree blooming in early spring before the leaves are out is easier to identify. The elm flower is yellow and sometimes has a hint of purple. The elm leaf color in the fall is either bright yellow or purple with a red tint. Elm trees grow at a fast rate and live a moderate to long life. Elms grow best when they receive direct sunlight and adapt well to most soil types.