Lacebark elm, or Ulmus parvifolia, has become the salvation for elm lovers ever since the demise of the American Elm (Ulmus americana) and English elm (Ulmus procera) due to the devastating Dutch Elm disease.

This native of China is a real gem. Not only is it resistant to Dutch Elm disease, but it is often planted in the most challenging locations such as traffic medians and can be transplanted successfully at almost anytime of the year. But all of this toughness and versatility comes from a tree that has a fine texture, graceful form and, of course, the delicately etched patterns and varied colors of its bark.

Additionally there are many cultivars that can suit almost any situation. Some of these varieties mimic the classic American Elm, soaring to a 70 foot vase; while others are broad and expansive; wider than they are tall. But most Lacebarks reach only about 40 feet high and wide, with the long branches eventually dipping down, giving the tree a languid demeanor. This size also suits most urban landscapes and yet still makes for a great shade tree.

The leaves are small and dark green which gives the tree Lacebark elm its fine texture. But the real attraction, of course, is its multi-hued trunk, which is especially striking in winter.

The Lacebark elm, or Chinese elm as it is known in the UK, does well throughout most of the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

The better cultivars are not likely to be found in the large discount nurseries, but more likely in the select plant nurseries or from mail-order tree nurseries.

Lacebark/Chinese elm


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