Ulmus parvifolia, commonly called Chinese elm or lacebark elm, is a medium-sized deciduous tree that typically grows to 40-50’ (less frequently to 70’) tall with a rounded crown and long pendulous branching. It is native to China, Korea and Japan. It is noted for its excellent foliage, multi-colored bark, rapid growth and good resistance to Dutch elm disease. Insignificant, small, reddish-green flowers appear in late summer. Flowers give way to single-seeded wafer-like samaras (each tiny seed is surrounded by a flattened circular papery wing) that mature in fall. Elliptic to ovate, shiny dark green leaves (to 3” long) have small teeth. Leaves typically turn an undistinguished dull yellow in fall, but sometimes produce more interesting yellows or reddish-purples. One of the most ornamental features of this tree is its mottled bark. On mature trees, bark flakes to reveal patches of gray, cream, orange, brown and green. Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of light shade. Prefers rich, moist loams. Adapts to a variety of different soils and tolerates both wet and dry sites. Generally tolerant of urban conditions. Shade or specimen tree for the landscape.
Seeds are Stored in a Refrigerator to Maintain Viability
- Fill a pot or a tray with a sandy or loamy potting soil. Use containers that have drainage holes.
- Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a layer of soil that is ¼ inch thick.
- Water the seeds.
- Put the container in a cold frame or in a greenhouse or outdoors. The seeds germinate in a few days.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.
- Plant the seedlings in the garden during the late spring or early summer. Choose a planting location that is in partial shade or fully exposed to sunlight. Ulmus parvifolia is adaptable and grows well in most types of soil -- from light and sandy soil to heavier clay soil -- providing it is well-drained. The tree is drought tolerant, and shouldn't require additional watering or fertilizing once planted in its permanent location. Select a location with enough space to allow the tree to grow to its full height of up to 60 feet at a rate of about three feet per year. The tree's crown will grow out to about 60 feet wide.