Tree 17

Zelkova serrata ‘Village Green’

‘Village Green’ was introduced into commerce in the 1960s by Princeton Nurseries in Princeton, New Jersey, and was first Zelkova cultivar. Patent documents claim this cultivar is distinguished from species plants by its rapid growth, straight and smooth trunks, upright vase shape, dark green foliage with rusty red fall color, and good resistance to leaf-eating and bark beetles. Zelkova is promoted as a substitute for American elm (Ulmus americana) because of its high resistance to Dutch elm disease. This is a fine tree for the urban landscape as it has a high tolerance for wind, pollution, drought and compacted soils. It is also winter hardy.

Zelkova serrata grows to 50 to 80 feet in average, and favors well-drained soils in full sun. Established trees tolerate some drought, but prefer rich, moist loams. Zelkovas are native to Japan, Taiwan and eastern China. Inconspicuous yellow-green flowers appear in spring in tight clusters before leaves. Fall color is variable, ranging from attractive shades of yellow-orange to red-brown. Smooth gray bark in youth exfoliates with age to reveal orange-brown inner bark. Zelkova is valued as a commercial timber tree in Japan.