Zelkova Tree Information: Japanese Zelkova Tree Facts And Care

Tall Zelkova Tree
(Image credit: MK2014)

Even if you’ve seen Japanese zelkovas growing in your town, you may not be familiar with the name. What is a zelkova tree? It’s both a shade tree and an ornamental that is fairly cold hardy and very easy to grow. For more Japanese zelkova tree facts, including zelkova tree planting information, read on.

What is a Zelkova Tree?

If you read zelkova tree information, you’ll find that Japanese zelkova (Zelkova serrata) is one of the best large shade trees available in commerce. A native of Japan, Taiwan and eastern China, Japanese zelkova wins gardeners’ hearts with its graceful shape, dense foliage and attractive bark. It also makes a good substitute for American elm, as it is resistant to Dutch elm disease.

Japanese Zelkova Tree Facts

According to Japanese zelkova tree facts, the trees are vase-shaped and grow rapidly. They are elegant trees, well worth your consideration if you need medium-to-large deciduous trees for your backyard. The mature height of a zelkova tree is 60 to 80 feet (18 to 24 m.) tall. The tree’s spread is about the same, creating an imposing, attractive landscape tree. You’ll have to have a reasonably large backyard to plant one. The tree’s leaves can provide a wonderful fall display, turning from fresh green to golden and rust in autumn. The trunk is also attractive. As the tree ages, the bark peels back to expose orange-brown inner bark.

Where to Grow Japanese Zelkova

If you are interested in zelkova tree planting, you’ll be glad to hear that zelkova grows easily in average soils, although it does prefer rich, moist loam. Plant the tree in full sun and well-drained soil. Mature zelkova trees tolerate some drought. However, gardeners involved in zelkova tree planting need to know that these trees grow better with regular irrigation during dry summers. If you live in a cool or moderate climate, your region might be ideal for zelkova tree planting. If you want to know where to grow Japanese zelkova, they do best in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8. Japanese zelkova tree information tells you that it serves well as a shade tree in your backyard. However, zelkovas can also be planted as street trees. They are very tolerant of urban pollution.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.