Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chinese Elm, Lacebark Elm
Ulmus parvifolia

Family: Ulmaceae (ulm-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ulmus (ULM-us) (Info)
Species: parvifolia (par-vee-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.

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over 40 ft. (12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 45 photos.
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7 positives
3 neutrals
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Mar 26, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A handsome, tough, adaptable shade tree that should be more widely known and grown. Championed by Michael Dirr.

Its habit varies widely from clone to clone, and it does not attain the stature or habit of the American elm. But many cultivars are being released with their own desirable qualities.

According to Dirr, there is no foundation for the common belief that this species is susceptible to ice, snow, and storm damage.

Some have expressed concern about its invasive potential. BONAP shows that it hasn't naturalized widely outside of southern California and Arizona. This species is often confused with the Siberian Elm, U. pumila---also commonly called "Chinese Elm"---which is considered invasive from central Mexico through central and eastern N. America, and is prone to storm damage.

Lacebark elm blooms in late summer, Siberian elm blooms in spring.

The negative ratings here seem to be due to experiences with Siberian elm, not lacebark elm.

Neutral patsdogs On May 9, 2014, patsdogs from Shawnee, OK wrote:

I have heard that a new, very hardy lacebark Chinese elm has been developed that can withstand the high wind and severe ice storms in Oklahoma. One name may be "Easy Street". Another might be "Whit". I'm not having any luck in finding it. Does anyone know anything about it, or have any experience with it?
Elms grow like crazy here, to the point of being invasive, but they are prone to damage from wind and ice, and are not nearly as handsome or as shapely as the cultivated varieties.
I'd appreciate any information or suggestions on where I can find out more about the new one.

Negative marycoyote61 On Dec 6, 2012, marycoyote61 from Sacramento, CA wrote:

My next door neighbor has 2 of these. It is extremely invasive, drops little seedpods and leaves all the time, and grows very rapidly. The one in her backyard is right next to my garage, and grows so much that it scrapes the roof tiles and I have to ask her to get it trimmed every year. (she is nice about it) It NEVER loses all of its leaves; instead, it loses them throughout the year, and sheds seedpods mostly in the winter and fall. I cannot keep up with the seedlings it produces in my yard. If anyone knows how to kill this tree, please let me know. I hate it.

Positive JerryAssburger On Apr 29, 2011, JerryAssburger from Peyton, CO wrote:

I lived in Buckeye, AZ. (Truly out in the Desert!), and the Lacebark Elm did great there. Now we have moved to Peyton Colorado, and I'm definitely going to give it a try here. The soil here is towards the sandy side, and really soaks up the water quickly. It's supposed to be slightly alkaline. My main worry is wind tolerance. I'll give a report later this summer as a follow-up.

Negative aggiebot5 On Oct 13, 2010, aggiebot5 from College Station, TX wrote:

Susceptible to mistletoe and to a fungal disease that attacks the vascular system and causes branch die-back and canopy thinning.

It is also invasive and has spread from cultivation in Texas and has the potential to be yet another exotic invasive. There are better alternatives! Please don't plant.

Negative foggarden On Jul 29, 2010, foggarden from San Francisco, CA wrote:

This is a highly invasive tree that sends out runners and sprouts. My neighbor had one in his yard and cut it down. In my yard I still have many sprouts growing that came up from his tree, despite my active and laborious removal of them. The sprouts quickly grow into trees. Be warned!

Positive aegir On May 4, 2010, aegir from Bethesda, MD wrote:

Planted one as a street tree, after 2 years of rooting it really took off last year and has nearly doubled in height after 4 years. I only watered it the first year, but I do fertilize with tree spikes every spring. It tolerates our poor clay soil, humid summers and winter road salt melt well. The bark is really neat. I have a zoysia lawn so no worries about seedlings. In the fall, one windy day and all the leaves are gone down the street, have yet to rake 1 leaf. A great tree-go plant one.

Positive gsnoorky On Apr 25, 2010, gsnoorky from Edmond, OK wrote:

Our Lace Bark Elm tree has been wonderful. We're in OKC, and, it hasn't leafed out yet this year--we were puzzled. As many of you know, we had an unusual, relentless cold. snowy, and, moist winter. Generally, until now, it's certainly been moist since the summer of last year.

The tree has tiny buds now that seem to multiply daily; the small twigs they're on are very brittle, though. We see green in small branches, however. It hasn't been very warm yet at night (given spring storms and cold fronts); I think freezing is over, though.

I didn't want to do this, yet, my mother (whom I consider an expert on flowers and shrubs) said to water the tree "separately" with small sprinkler--I obliged. The ground is saturated now: Her stock answer (until now) still was to water. Finally, she sees (perhaps finally) the need for a new approach. Usually, it's dry here in the winter and summer (fire danger/burn bans), so, that may explain her love affair with H2O for her plant problems.

Spring in OKC generally has the really violent weather--with common deluges. So, to some extent I'm glad that the tree doesn't have leaves right now--naturally, the tree does better in our horribly strong winds without them. The trunk is a good size--the tree has been very sturdy. I've had to prune a few unruly branches over the years (with this 9+ years old tree)--no big deal.

The little leaves (a "miniature" version of elm leaves) are a pain in the fall, yet, they do disintegrate far better than large Bradford Pear and Oak leaves--unusual moisture helps, of course. Saplings will pop-up but aren't that big a problem. Anyway, I noted a warning not to over-water the Lace Bark Elm--that's good to know! I deduce that that's our problem....

Update 06/06/10: A tree guy looked at it and thinks it's dead. He'll come in a week to remove it--it's likely 30ft. tall. I'm shocked! I can't believe this! I think that I'll plant an oak....

Positive uglysteve On Oct 25, 2009, uglysteve from Apache Junction, AZ wrote:

Planted this tree last fall. It's growing well. Not bothered by heat, did not suffer it's first summer. It grew about 2 feet, and is about 12 feet tall. Peeling bark looks nice on older trees. Will make a good shade tree in a few years.

Positive Emma_K On Jul 27, 2008, Emma_K from Rockwall, TX wrote:

My lacebark elm grew rapidly in the Dallas, Texas area. It is a good shade tree and is beautiful if trimmed yearly. I have not had problems with baby elms sprouting up, but the tree's small leaf size and abundance of blossoms create a large amount of debris to clear up each year. One year I left everything on the ground and my grass died. I clean it every year now and replaced my Bermuda grass with St. Augustine. My garden is once again in balance.

Negative amandaemily On Jun 24, 2007, amandaemily from Gulf Coast
United States (Zone 9a) wrote:

Have two large ones in the yard that came with the house, very invasive. Seedlings pop up everywhere in the yard faster than I can yank them.

Positive tropicsofohio On Apr 17, 2007, tropicsofohio from Hilliard, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

i enjoy the sight of this plant, great bonsai,even for me, not invasive here, far less common than natural trees such as maple and oak.

Neutral escambiaguy On Mar 20, 2005, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I've seen this tree in nursuries.It is a very pretty tree,however it is from Asia and I do worry about it becoming another exotic invasive.I would have to be convinced it doesn't spread easily before I would plant it.

Neutral palmbob On Apr 24, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Commonly grown landscape plant all over Southern California showing its preferred temperature range goes up to easily 10b (can't comment on 11 since we don't go up that high here). Had one in the yard for years and it was a weed problem... little elms popping up everywhere. I can't give it a negative, though, as the weeds were easy to yank and it was a nice looking tree.. a bit too common here, though... if well pruned is an excellent specimen tree.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Apache Junction, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Fresno, California
Los Angeles, California
Merced, California
Oceanside, California
Sacramento, California
Santa Barbara, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Dunnellon, Florida (2 reports)
Fountain, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Roswell, Georgia
Kingman, Kansas
Clermont, Kentucky
Cynthiana, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Paris, Kentucky
Versailles, Kentucky
Boutte, Louisiana
Coushatta, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Vacherie, Louisiana
Bethesda, Maryland
Valley Lee, Maryland
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Ridgeland, Mississippi
Las Vegas, Nevada
Cincinnati, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Hilliard, Ohio
Edmond, Oklahoma
Piedmont, Oklahoma
North, South Carolina
Arlington, Texas
Austin, Texas
Georgetown, Texas
Midland, Texas
Plano, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Rockwall, Texas
Tremonton, Utah
Colville, Washington

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