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Lacebark ElmUlmus parvifolia

  • Lacebark Elm - Ulmus parvifolia
This handsome, graceful tree has a rounded crown adorned with lustrous dark green leaves that change to yellow and reddish purple in fall. A landscape standout, the lacebark elm has distinctive bark, which is mottled and often creates colorful patterns in its trunk.

Medium to fast-growing, this elm adapts to many soil conditions and is relatively free from the diseases ravaging other elm species, making it a tough and durable tree for any situation.

Hardiness Zones

The lacebark elm can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–9. View Map

Tree Type

This tree is considered both a shade tree and an ornamental tree. It features a spreading canopy capable of blocking sunlight and adds visual interest and beauty to landscaping.

Mature Size

The lacebark elm grows to a height of 40–50' and a spread of 35–45' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium to Fast Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium to fast rate, with height increases of anywhere from 13" to more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The lacebark elm grows well in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. While it prefers normal moisture, the tree has some flood tolerance and drought resistance.


This tree:
  • Works well as a street tree due to its ability to grow in adverse conditions and relative freedom from the diseases affecting many other elm species.
  • Features distinctively exfoliating bark with a mottled pattern, often with shades of brown, gray, green and orange.
  • Yields oval, brown fruit best described as a notched, elliptical wing up to ½" long with a small seed in the center.
  • Produces dark, glossy green leave that are ¾–2" long with serrate leaf margins. Fall color ranges from yellow to purple and is better than other elms.
  • Grows in a rounded shape.

Wildlife Value

The tree provides nesting sites for small animals and birds; the seeds are an abundant food source for birds; and the leaves are attractive to mourning cloak, eastern comma and question mark butterfly larvae.


This landscape standout earned the name Lacebark Elm for its distinctive bark, which is mottled instead of ridged as in other Elms and often creates colorful patterns in its trunk. A native of China, Korea and Japan, the tree was introduced to America in 1794.