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The Chinese elm is native to China, Korea, and Japan. It is a small to medium-sized deciduous (rarely semi-evergreen) tree growing to 10-18 m tall with a slender trunk and crown. The leaves are small, 2-5 cm long and 1-3 cm broad. The flowers are produced in early autumn, small and inconspicuous, with the seed maturing rapidly and dispersing by late autumn. The fruit are round samaras appearing in the fall. The growth rate of Chinese elm can be over 3 feet per year reaching 60 to 80 feet tall. It has beautiful exfoliating bark which is cinnamon in color. It grows in a vase shape and is a good city tree resistant to Dutch Elm disease. It is drought tolerant, but will tolerate moist sites. It can be messy with lots of fruit falling and causing seedling growth. When receiving a shipment, make sure it is not Ulmus pumila (which has a black, rounded bud).

Trees retain their leaves until early in the new year and in areas with mild winters will often retain them until new leaves are formed in the spring. This tree likes full sun to partial shade and grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9.


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USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Source: USDA NRCS PLANTS Database

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