Nine Liberty American elm (Ulmus americana) seedlings were planted on April 29, 2022 at four locations in Forks after a dedication ceremony held in Tillicum Park that marked the culmination of the American Elm Heritage Project for the City of Forks sponsored by the Michael Trebert Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The seedlings were planted (see map) and staked at the Park, Olympic Natural Resource Center (ONRC), Forks Elementary School, and the Forks Elk Lodge by silviculturist Shirley Lorentz and forestry technician David Schmidt from the USDA Forest Service Pacific Ranger District and Matt Perry, silviculturist for the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
The elm seedlings were provided by the American Elm Institute’s nursery in Walpole, NH and have a lifetime warranty against Dutch elm disease. The seedlings are three years old and are clones from controlled cross-pollination between very old, native parent elm trees that showed superior resistance to Dutch elm disease (Ceratocystis ulmi).
One replacement tree is being stored in a greenhouse should it be needed. Planting holes with protective fencing were prepared for the elm seedlings at the Park by the Forks Lions Club members Randy McAvoy, Elliot Mann and Andrew Huggins; at the ONRC by Deric Kettel, maintenance mechanic and Gia Gallina, custodian; Forks Grade School by Bill Henderson, Forks Schools facilities supervisor; and, Forks Elks Lodge by Glenn King, chaplain.
The Forks Lions Club constructed a sidewalk in Tillicum Park to the interpretive sign that describes the importance of reestablishing American elms in our nation. According to Shirley Lorentz, all of the planted seedlings have leafed out and will grow quickly. “The seedlings will grow 2-3 feet in height each year and can be expected to grow as tall as 100 feet or more,” Lorentz said.
“The trees can tolerate drought and a wide range of temperatures and will find our Forks climate very favorable,” she said.”American elms can live to be 200 to 250 years old, so special monitoring and care is necessary during the first year after planting,” Lorentz said.
“During the first 10 years, some light pruning and fertilization may be necessary to ensure survival,” she added.
The Bogachiel Garden Club has agreed to help monitor and care for the seedlings until they become established. “Volunteers interested in helping monitor the seedlings or wanting to adopt a tree may contact Cynthia Bork at 509-680-3569,” Lorentz said.
The American Elm Institute nursery, where 10 seedlings were being grown for planting in Forks, suffered catastrophic losses to rabbit damage during the past winter. According to the Institute, it will require at least three years to grow additional trees for Forks.
The Michael Trebert Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is conducting the Forks American Elm Heritage Project in 2021-22. The project is planned as part of the upcoming 250th Anniversary – in 2026 – of our nation’s founding. The project culminated on Arbor Day, April 29, 2022, with the commemorative planting of American elm saplings in the city of Forks, and placement of an interpretive sign.