Zelkova Serrata, a native of China and Taiwan, is a deciduous tree which grows up to 130 feet tall with a rounded shape and branching outward. It has smooth pinkish bark when young, which in maturity develops an exfoliating character similar to that of an Elm. Its’ timber is used for cabinets and inlay work due to the hard fine-grain. The leaves are alternating with teeth; dark green in summer and a nice orange in the fall. Zelkovas are hardy and succeed in deep well-drained soil.
The species was introduced in Britain and the US to be grown for ornamental purposes and as a replacement tree for elms lost through Dutch elm disease. Unfortunately, some sources say it is now evident that some Zelkovas are also susceptible to Dutch elm disease. The Zelkova Serrata is not proving to be as resistant to Elm Leaf Beetle and Elm Bark Beetle as originally predicted. It is a handsome tree because of the foliage and interesting bark; well suited for lawns and residential streets or parks….but beware. Keep abreast of maintenance like pruning and pest suppression to help protect it.