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Japanese zelkova is a medium to large shade tree with a distinct vase shape. This species is quite drought and heat tolerant; its use as a street tree species is testimony to its toughness. Fall foliage colors range from fair to quite good (orange to bronze-red to maroon) and will vary from tree to tree (seedling-grown trees) or from cultivar to cultivar. With age the bark exfoliates exposing orange and tan colors. Pruning young trees is obligatory since limbs in young trees tend to be clustered; developing a good branch structure when the tree is young will eliminate the need for more involved and costly pruning when trees are older. There are several cultivars in the trade (see Additional Information section).
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
February 22, 2012