Scientific name: Zelkova serrata – ‘Green Vase’
Japanese zelkova is a large, fast-growing, deciduous tree with a spreading, vase-shaped crown, that fills a gap left by the American elm. It typically grows 60-80 ft tall and 40-50 ft wide. Small green flowers bloom in early spring as leaves emerge. Its scientific name is partly chosen for the tree’s serrated leaves (i.e., serrata). Fruits are non-descript, brown drupes that emerge in summer to fall. The leaves are shiny green in summer and provide showy red to copper color in the fall. This tree is known for its attractive, exfoliating bark. Zelkova is native to Japan, Taiwan, and eastern China, and is somewhat resistant to Dutch Elm Disease. It is tolerant to drought and other harsh urban conditions. Zelkova is a great lawn, shade, or street tree. It needs full sun. In Burlington, sun scald has been observed, and it does not appear to be particularly long-lived in our region. It typically grows in plant hardiness zones 5-8. Burlington may be at the edge of its range, which may explain it doesn’t thrive here. The Parks department has cut back on planting this tree, though it is a beauty.