Lacebark Elm

Ulmus parvifolia

Lacebark Elm

Ulmus parvifolia


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 Lacebark Elm Tree is a top-rated ornamental shade tree, free of the disease problems of older types of elm. It quickly develops into a tree 40 feet tall, with a full, rounded drown of dark green leaves about 30 feet across, and a graceful habit. The fall color of yellow and red are good, but the bark is the big feature. The gray older bark is constantly flaking and peeling, revealing big patches of inner bark, colored cream, brown, orange or green. This beautiful mottled pattern is ever-changing, and always eye-catching and appealing. As a shade tree for urban gardens this is an especially good choice.

  • Top-quality graceful shade tree
  • Striking bark, flaking to reveal cream, orange, brown and green
  • Neat foliage with good yellow to red fall colors
  • Develops well even in partial shade
  • Very reliable for urban conditions

The Lacebark Elm Tree will grow anywhere from zone 4 to 9, and it tolerates partial shade, making it a great addition to a garden with existing trees. It grows almost anywhere, preferring moist but well-drained soil, but adapting well to both wetter and drier conditions, and growing in any soil at all that is not permanently wet. It is completely resistant to Dutch Elm Disease, elm leaf beetles and Japanese beetles, and it normally has no disease problems, making it a great choice for easy, trouble-free gardening. Don’t confuse it with the much-inferior Siberian elm (also sometimes called Chinese elm) – the Lacebark Elm is a top-quality and very desirable tree to plant and grow.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-9
Mature Width 30-35
Mature Height 35-40
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 4-9

Attractive bark is a feature of trees that really comes into its own in winter, especially with deciduous trees. We often don’t pay it enough attention, yet when we meet trees with especially handsome bark, we never fail to find them attractive and appealing. It is always good to choose a tree with extra features, and while fall color is top of everyone’s list, bark often gets overlooked. Don’t make that mistake with your tree choice, and instead give the Lacebark Elm a considered look. No, it isn’t affected by the deadly Dutch Elm Disease, or by leaf beetles, so it is a serious contender for that tree you have been looking for.

The Lacebark Elm is a deciduous shade tree, growing one or two feet a year to reach 35 to 40 feet tall, with a crown spread of 20 to 35 feet. That full, rounded crown throws a good area of shade, and this tough tree is especially useful in urban gardens because it really takes well to that tough environment. The leaves are 1 to 2½ inches long, and they are neat ovals, with noticeable teeth along the edges (but not spiny). The leaves have a solid, leathery texture, and a shiny surface. In summer they are a rich, deep green, turning yellow to burgundy in fall, making a good display. But it is the bark we are here for, and it certainly is splendid. Once your tree has matured a little the gray bark begins to flake and peel in irregular shapes. These reveal the underlying bark, which is cream, orange, brown and green, making a beautiful patchwork, or lacy, effect. Flowers are insignificant, and they are reddish-green, and hidden among the leaves. A small winged seed develops in fall.

Grow the Lacebark Elm as a shade tree on a lawn, or as an avenue lining a long driveway. Plant a row along your property line or use it as a screen – it trims well – to hide a bad view or give you privacy. Plant it among existing trees in a wooded area, where its ability to grow in partial shade will allow it to fill in spaces among much older trees. It also makes a great subject for bonsai, with its neat foliage and handsome bark. With ‘oriental credentials’ it looks good in Asian-style gardens, a style that is always popular. When planting consider the final spread of the crown, and plant at least 15 feet away from walls, buildings, windows and other potential obstructions. Don’t plant it beneath overhead wires, as the last thing you want it to see its graceful branches removed for safety. Always take your time choosing the right spot for a tree. After all, it is going to be with you for a long time, and it deserves careful placement.

For urban settings the Lacebark Elm is hard to beat. some shade is almost inevitable in an urban garden, and thankfully this tree grows in both full sun and partial shade. It will grow in almost any soil. Although it prefers rich, well-drained soils, it is very adaptable, and is perfectly happy to be in wetter or drier soils, too. As for hardiness, this tree is good anywhere from zone 4 to zone 9, so that covers almost all the country. What makes it an especially great choice is that, although an elm tree, it is not affected by Dutch Elm Disease, which devasted elm planting all across the country, last century. It is also safe from leaf beetles and the nasty Japanese beetle too. Diseases usually don’t cause any problems, and this trouble-free tree needs nothing special. If you want to use it for screening, it trims well, and it can be grown as a large hedge. To enjoy the bark at its best, trim up the lower branches early in its life, to reveal a nice tall trunk. By doing it early you won’t be left with unsightly scars, as this will be quickly covered by the expanding diameter of the growing trunk. A tall trunk will really show off the bark, and why waste a great feature?

The Lacebark Elm, Ulmus parvifolia, grows wild all though south-east Asia, from China, Taiwan, Japan and North Korea, down into northern Vietnam. Prized for its graceful form, it is sometimes called Chinese elm. This is an unfortunate name, as it is a name also used for the Siberian elm, Ulmus pumila. Don’t confuse the two, as the Siberian Elm has a justified reputation as a weedy, much inferior tree that you may have already learned to avoid. For this reason, the name Lacebark Elm is much better. This confusion may account for the relative scarcity of this tree in home gardens, although it is widely used by knowledgeable landscapers and city parks, as specimen trees, and as a street tree. That should tell you that this elm tree is a great urban choice. Our trees are grown from seed taken from parent trees with good form and tough genes, so you get the best. Everyone loves beautiful tree bark, so these trees will soon be gone. Order now, while our stock lasts.

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Lacebark Elm

Ulmus parvifolia