Chinese Elm Tree
Also Known as the Lacebark Elm

The Chinese Elm tree is similar to the old American Elm tree and there are relatively new varieties available. The American Elm tree can be seen in Andrew Jackson Downing's old photos of the American landscape...estates to be more specific. They were just beautiful with there vase shape forms, slightly weeping. Unfortuntately, they succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease and were not used for many years.


However, much research has been done and many new and disease resistant cultivars have been created. There are various types of Elms:

  • American Elm
  • Chinese Elm (Also known as Lacebark Elm)
  • Asian Elms
  • Hybrid Elms


Elm Tree Features

Without getting too technical, the main thing to know is the difference between the American Elm Tree and the Chinese Elm Tree. The Chinese (Lacebark Elm) tree is smaller than the American Elm tree. Smaller of course is relative because in my opinion it still gets quite large.

Many Lace Bark Elms get around 50 feet high and 35 feet wide. Also, many have beautiful exfoliating bark in various earthy colors...a wonderful feature, especially in the winter.

There are many new types of both the American Elm tree and Chinese Elm tree available now. However, not only do you want the tree to be disease resistant, you also want it to be resistant to Elm leaf beetles and Japanese beetles.






My Experience

When I lived in Virginia, I had an Elm tree in my front yard. I rented there so did not know the history of the tree. Actually it took me awhile to figure out that it was an Elm.

However, it was not a great variety as it had all types of problems. Each summer it got Japanese beetles which exfoliated the entire tree. It also got cankers...the poor thing really had its problems but I still loved its beauty. The shape and elegance could not be compared to any other tree around.

Where to plant an Elm tree? I think the best place is out in the open lawn as a beautiful focal point. It will get more beautiful each year as it matures.

If you are interested in adding one of those old fashioned type Elm trees to your property, either the American or Chinese types, consider purchasing one of the newer disease resistant varieties that also are known to not have any of the other problems.

For more helpful information (and some great photos) on trees, take a look at my ebook Trees For Landscaping

See other shade trees


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"Susan,  what a pleasure it was to work with you.  You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly!  Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant.  You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes.  Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
Helen, Ontario-Canada 

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