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)
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Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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


Apache Junction, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona (3 reports)

Corona, California

Fresno, California

Long Beach, California

Los Angeles, California (2 reports)

Merced, California

Oceanside, California

Pasadena, California

Sacramento, California

Santa Barbara, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Dunnellon, Florida (2 reports)

Fountain, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Ocala, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Roswell, Georgia

Aurora, Illinois

Kingman, Kansas

Wichita, 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

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

North, South Carolina

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas

Georgetown, Texas

Midland, Texas

Plano, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Rockwall, Texas

South Jordan, Utah

Tremonton, Utah

Colville, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 21, 2017, Dtanaka1013 from Long Beach, CA,
United States wrote:

The Chinese Elm is fast growing, creates excellent shade, and hardy. Correction! Too hardy! It constantly sheds its leaves so the dog and I are constantly in trouble for tracking in leaf debris. The tree cutters I hired removed my patio pavers, chopped the tree down, ground down the stump, and replaced the pavers unevenly. After 3 months, I had to remove the stump, chop up most of the large roots, and replaced the pavers. After 6 months the remaining roots grew, forced most of the pavers up. Now, 9 months later, I have mini elms growing everywhere in my yard! Talk about home invasion. Avoid, avoid, avoid!


On Jan 23, 2017, MeiNott from Corona, CA wrote:

The tree is a beautiful shade tree, BUT it is highly allergenic! I developed severe respiratory allergies to it over past 10 years. They surrounded my workplace, and are all along the streets in my neighborhood.

It is also messy, dropping seeds all over that sprout TOO EASILY into nuisance trees. Every Spring I have to hoe out baby seedlings all over the yard, and if I miss one and find it six months later it has grown to about a foot tall.

I consider it an invasive pest!


On Nov 5, 2016, billbelle from Pasadena, CA wrote:

I have 2 Chinese elms and also had 1 Siberian elm that I had to remove, so I've had experience with both.

The Chinese elms are about 40 years old. They can be pruned into attractive shapes and do provide excellent shade, but their seeds sprout up everywhere. They are quite dirty trees in that they are always dropping something: seeds, leaves, flowers.

The biggest problem, and the reason I would like to never see a Chinese elm again is that they are highly allergenic. They can cause asthma, hives, and other allergies, especially in dry weather. The tiny seed get into the car air vents, and cause breathing problems while you drive.

The Siberian elm was not a good tree for a residential yard, and had problems with beetles, rot, and weak limbs, but ... read more


On Jul 7, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

It is a good-looking and tough tree that usually gets about 30 feet high in southeast PA. I remember a 20 feet high specimen about as far north as it can grow in northern Illinois back in the 1980's. The character of the bark is variable from tree to tree, unless a cultivar. Originally, it was called the "Chinese Elm" but because of confusion with the Siberian Elm, it is better called Lacebark. It is a fantastic urban tree for tough urban situations. I don't recommend it for rural locations because I don't want it to escape cultivation and become another Asian invasive plant in America.


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... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.