An excellent tree that is surprisingly under-used, Chinese Elm possesses many traits which make it ideal for a multitude of landscape uses. A fast-growing, nearly evergreen tree, 'Drake' Chinese elm forms a graceful, spreading, rounded canopy of long, arching, and somewhat weeping branches which are clothed with two to three-inch-long, shiny, dark green, leathery leaves. Some specimens grow in the typical vase-shaped elm form, others appear to grow horizontally instead of upright like a tree. In the cooler part of its range in fall, leaves are transformed into various shades of red, purple, or yellow. The tree is evergreen in the southern extent of its range. The showy, exfoliating bark reveals random, mottled patterns of grey, green, orange, and brown, adding great textural and visual interest, especially to its winter silhouette. The Chinese elm species can reach 80 feet in height but this cultivar probably grows to about 40 to 50 feet tall. It makes an ideal shade, specimen, street or parking lot tree, provided it is trained and pruned to allow for vehicular and pedestrian clearance below. They look very nice planted in a grove or along a street.
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Tree Campus information provided with permission of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Publication #ENH-810, one of a series. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006. Reviewed February 2014. For more information visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.