Suitable Trees: Elms and Zelcova


The Elm family are a group of trees that will forgive you almost anything, will grow in a range of soils and are easy to obtain, with species native to most of the Northern hemispere.

Zelcova and Chinese Elm are the two species you are likely to come across on a suppliers benches, both excellent trees although the Chinese Elm is I feel not as hardy when there is frost about, but try what grows in your area as all Elms are capable of making good bonsai.

The Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) Is a very easy tree to grow. Deciduous in temporate areas, it may retain its leaves in tropical and sub tropical regions. The Chinese elm is often wrongly sold as an indoor tree here in Europe and probably elseware.

A Chinese Elm in the Broom style

I get a lot of email about Chinese Elm shedding its leaves. There are a number of reasons why the tree may be shedding its leaves, the most obvious of which is that, as an Elm it's a deciduous tree and SHOULD shed its leaves overwinter (mine do!).

They are easy to propogate. The seed germinates readily should you wish to try growing them this way, however cuttings, layering and collecting are the best methods to increase your stock.

Elm's respond well to leaftrimming, and on a vigourous tree this may be carried out twice in one season, but not every year.

The beauty of elm leaves in Autumn

One of the problems Elm are prone to are galls.

Galls are an abnormal growth of plant tissues, which may take many forms, caused by living 
organisms such as fungi, mites, And minute gall wasps.

Here we see Galls caused by the pustule gall Aceria Ulmicola. And although it's supposed to only affect the English elm it may when in close proximity to other specues 'Jump ship'

The largest Zelcova in the UK at Capel Manor

Suitable Styles

Almost any informal style suits the Elm, try to avoid Formal upright and Literati (they just don't look right). Broom is one of the most attractive styles to grow an elm in, as to a large extent it echos the way they grow in the wild.

Allen. C. Roffey Friday, July 20, 2018 10:09