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Zelkova serrata
Zelkova serrata

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Zones 3-21, 29-41
Full Sun
Regular Water

Zelkova serrata

Sawleaf Zelkova
Deciduous, Trees

Eastern Asia relative of elm (Ulmus). Good shade tree; sometimes used as a substitute for American elm (U. americana), which is highly prone to Dutch elm disease (zelkova is also susceptible but rarely succumbs). Grows at a moderate to fast rate to 60 ft. or taller and equally wide. Silhouette ranges from vase-shaped to quite spreading.

Has smooth gray bark. Narrowly oval, sawtoothed leaves are similar to those of elm but rougher in texture. Fall color varies from yellow to dark red to dull reddish brown. Among the vase-shaped varieties, ‘Halka’ is the best American elm mimic in form and foliage; ‘Green Vase’ has a narrower vase shape than vigorous ‘Village Green’. ‘City Sprite’ is a compact oval to about 25 ft. tall. ‘Musashino’ is upright to 45 ft. tall and only 15 ft. wide. ‘Wireless’ (‘Schmidtlow’) is compact, just 25 ft. tall and 35 ft. wide, and has excellent red fall color.

Takes a wide range of soils. Fairly tolerant of drought and wind. You may need to train and prune young trees to establish a good framework; thin out crowded ascending branches.

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