Lacebark Elm

Lacebark Elm

Lacebark Elm (Ulmus parvifolia)

Lacebark Elm
Ulmus parvifolia
(ULM-us par-vee-FOH-lee-uh)

Chinese Elm, Chinese Lacebark Elm

Family
Ulmaceae

Description
A graceful shade tree of fine texture, its ornamental value is its lacy patterned exfoliating bark and arching branch structure

Plant habit
Medium shade tree

Landscape use
Plant as a specimen or in a group, scaled to fit most residential structures

Average mature size
30’ tall x 40’ wide

Growth rate
Fast; young trees may require staking, relatively long lived

Sun exposure
Sun, part sun/shade

Soil requirements
Easy to grow in most soil conditions, even in wet, compacted soil.  Develops a shallow, fibrous root system; surface rooting is likely in heavy, alkaline soils (plant at least 30’ away from foundations and planting beds to avoid root intrusion)

Water requirements
Moderate

Heat tolerance
High, especially in urban conditions (reflected street heat)

Foliage
Deciduous to evergreen (depending on climate), Dark green, shiny, leathery leaves

Flowers
Inconspicuous, green

Blooming period
Fall

Fruit characteristics
Inconspicuous, brown

Bark
Cinnamon colored, exfoliating bark provides year-round interest.  Thin bark is vulnerable to string-line trimmers; mulch to drip line of canopy if possible

Pests and disease
Resistant to elm leaf beetle, Dutch elm disease and phloem necrosis.  Susceptible to cotton root rot, particularly in wet conditions and areas where cotton was previously grown

Other
Not to be confused with Siberian elm (U. pumila), which should not be planted due to its invasive nature, susceptibility to pests and diseases, overall weak structure and constant leaf/branch litter nuisance. Low maintenance

“As a fast growing shade tree in Texas, Lacebark elm is tops.” – Dale Groom, Dale Groom’s Texas Gardening Guide