Green Vase® Zelkova Tree

Zelkova serrata 'Green Vase'

Green Vase® Zelkova Tree

Zelkova serrata 'Green Vase'

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Green Vase Zelkova is a superior form of the Japanese zelkova, and an admirable substitute for the American elm. It is completely unaffected by Dutch elm disease, and it has the same high crown and grandeur of the elm. It forms a strong trunk with many branches rising from its top, forming an upright vase shape and growing to 45 feet tall within 20 years or so. The attractive leaves turn glowing orange in fall. This tree is perfect for a shade tree on a large lawn or for creating an avenue along a driveway or property line.

  • Beautiful upright vase-shaped shade tree
  • Excellent, disease-free substitute for the American elm
  • Beautiful glowing orange fall coloring
  • Good cold and drought resistance
  • Much faster growing than other varieties – a mature tree sooner

The Green Vase Zelkova should be planted in full sun, in soil that is well-drained and rich. It tolerated clay soils and urban conditions, and once established it is drought resistant too. It has no pest or disease problems and grows easily in most locations, with good resistance to cold and heat. Young trees should be mulched to conserve moisture and enrich the soil.

Plant Hardiness Zones 5-8
Mature Width 25-40
Mature Height 45-60
Sun Needs Full Sun
Zones 5-8

The loss of the American elm to disease left tree lovers with a hole in the heart, and many of our cities with empty, bare streets. There is, however, a wonderful tree that is beautiful and in the same plant family as elm trees. It too has strong rising branches, and it will tower over us, reaching 60 feet in height. It has similar leaves, but a unique vase-like form, with many branches rising from the top of its main trunk. This tree is the Japanese zelkova, and its graceful shape and attractive bark make it a very worthy substitute for the lost elm, and a lovely shade tree in its own right. The Green Vase Zelkova is a selected variety that is superior to most others, with excellent drought resistance, stronger fall colors, rapid growth and a powerful vase-shaped crown that brings lots of presence and grandeur to your garden.

Growing the Green Vase Zelkova

Size and Appearance

The Green Vase Zelkova is a tall deciduous tree that grows rapidly, adding about 2 feet every year, so that in just 20 years your tree will be over 40 feet tall, ultimately growing up to 60 feet in height. The crown has a spread of 25 to 40 feet, casting a wide circle of shade over your home or lawn. The main trunk is broad and straight, and characteristically this tree develops many ascending branches from a single area at the top of the trunk. This creates a strong, spreading but upright crown, with an eye-catching and appealing form. The smooth bark is gray-brown and very attractive. The elliptical leaves are 4 to 5 inches long, and a handsome olive-green. They have pronounced serrations along the edges, reminiscent of the American elm. In fall they turn a warm, vibrant, glowing orange, a much stronger and more attractive color than most other zelkova, which usually have rusty, dark-red fall colors at best. Insignificant greenish flowers form in spring, followed by small dry seeds in fall, which don’t make a mess of the garden.

Using the Green Vase Zelkova in Your Garden

This tree is a wonderful choice for a large shade tree on your lawn, or in the corners of your yard. It looks fabulous planted as an avenue, or as a row along a property line – space trees 20 feet or more apart to preserve their individual identity. This tree grows to a large size, and with its spread of up to 40 feet it is important to choose the planting spot carefully. Plant it at least 20 feet away from any buildings or other obstructions, and don’t plant it beneath power lines. Remember that if you plant along a boundary with neighbors, that they own all parts of the tree that cross that line and can cut it if they wish to. This is a worthy and wonderful tree, so plant it with the future in mind. Zelkova is also a popular subject for bonsai, and with the right care and patience this tree would be perfect to grow as a bonsai tree.


The Green Vase Zelkova is more hardy than many other forms of this tree. It is completely hardy in zone 5, and in all other zones except for zone 9, where winters are too short and warm for its proper development.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Plant your Green Vase Zelkova in a spot with full sun, even if it needs to grow a little before it reaches it. It grows best in fertile, moist, well-drained soil, but once established this variety has good drought resistance, and it grows well in clay soils and urban conditions. It is also more resistant to air-pollution than other varieties of this tree.

Maintenance and Pruning

Water regularly when young and use organic mulch over the roots (not touching the trunk) to conserve moisture and provide some nutrients for the tree. You may need to remove a few of the lowest branches to give you the trunk height you want. Do this gradually over a few years, once the tree is established and growing well, but don’t leave it too long, otherwise you will leave scars that may never completely cover over with smooth bark. This tree has no serious pests or diseases, and most importantly it is completely resistant and unaffected by all forms of Dutch elm disease.

History and Origin of the Green Vase Zelkova

The Japanese zelkova, Zelkova serrata, is a forest tree native to the islands of Japan, and to Korea, Taiwan and eastern parts of China. In the early 1970s Princeton Nurseries, in Plainsboro, New Jersey, obtained a package of seed collected from the forests by the Institute of Forest Genetics in South Korea. They planted the seedlings in a field, and very soon William Flemer, III noticed one tree that was growing twice as fast as all the others, with extra-large leaves. Tests and trials showed that it was also more cold and drought resistant, and had an excellent narrow vase-shaped form, compared to other varieties. In 1983 it was patented with the name ‘Green Vase’ (PP# 05,080), a patent that expired in 2003.

Buying the Green Vase Zelkova at The Tree Center

The Green Vase Zelkova is a variety that is highly regarded by all tree authorities, and it has been described as the ‘standard for comparison with all others’ by no less a person than Michael Dirr, an author, breeder, and well-known authority on trees and shrubs. We highly recommend this variety, and we know it will become as loved as the elm was before it. Order now and plant a tree for posterity, but do it soon, while our stock of this sort-after variety remains available.

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Green Vase® Zelkova Tree

Zelkova serrata 'Green Vase'