Chinese evergreen elm problems

Drake Elm Tree Growing: Tips On Caring For Drake Elm Trees

The drake elm (also called Chinese elm or lacebark elm) is a quick-growing elm tree that naturally develops a dense, rounded, umbrella shaped canopy. For more drake elm tree information and details on caring for drake elm trees, read on.

Drake Elm Tree Information

When you read up on drake elm tree information, you’ll learn all about the tree’s exceptionally beautiful bark. It is green, gray, orange and brown, and it exfoliates in small thin plates. The trunk often forks, producing the same vase shape that American elms display.

Drake elms (Ulmus parvifolia ‘Drake’) are relatively small trees, generally staying under 50 feet tall. They are deciduous, but they shed leaves late and almost act like evergreens in warmer climates.

The leaves of a drake elm are typical to most elm trees, some two

inches long, toothed, with conspicuous veins. Most drake elm tree information will mention the tree’s small winged samara/seeds that appear in the spring. The samaras are papery, flat and even ornamental, drooping in dense and showy clusters.

Drake Elm Tree Care

If you are thinking of how nice your backyard would look with a drake elm tree growing in it, you’ll want to learn about caring for drake elm trees.

First of all, remember that the typical drake elm tree grows about 50 feet tall and 40 feet wide, so if you have the intention to start drake elm tree growing, provide each tree with an adequate site.

Keep in mind that these elms thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. Planting in a cooler or hotter region may not be a good idea.

If you are wondering how to grow a drake elm, it is not difficult if you plant the tree in an appropriate location and provide adequate care.

Drake elm tree care includes plenty of sun, so find a full sun planting site. You’ll also want to give the tree adequate water during the growing season.

Otherwise, drake elm tree growing is fairly easy. One thing to keep in mind is that drake elms reseed prodigiously. In some areas, drake elms are invasive, escaping cultivation and disrupting native plant populations.

If space is lacking or invasiveness is a concern, this tree also makes a great specimen for bonsai plantings.

Drake Elm Tree

A Classic, Beautiful Shade Tree for the Golden State

Why Drake Elm Trees?
Known for its adaptability and ease, the Drake Elm Tree boasts a moderately fast but manageable growth rate, stunning shape and nearly-evergreen foliage. It’s a classic shade tree in every way but with even more benefits.

For starters, the Drake Elm is wonderfully versatile and adaptable. It excels whether it’s planted for shade, as a street barrier or simply a specimen focal point, especially since it’s tolerant of drought and pollution. You’ll get the promise of green hues in summer, blazing yellows in fall and visually interesting bark in the winter.

Why is Better
But the best part of the Drake Elm is that, because it’s a proven performer, it’s consistent in both size and shape. This tree has been nurtured by certified ornamental horticulturists, so you can be certain of its fine quality. Finally, since it’s been grown and shipped in its existing pot, roots intact, it’s ready to perform spectacularly when it arrives to your door.

The Drake Elm Tree: Golden State-grown specifically for California landscapes. Its healthful, happy origin means it’s ready to flourish in your own landscape. Imagine month-to-month visual interest without effort – order your own Drake Elm Tree today, before it sells out!

Planting & Care

Planting Instructions: Before planting, it’s important to choose a location with enough space to accommodate the size of your Drake Elm. Furthermore, your Drake should be planted in a sunny spot (6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day) with well-drained soil.

After you’ve selected a suitable location, dig a hole that’s at least two to three times wider than your tree’s root ball. Once you’ve placed your Drake Elm, back fill its soil, tamp down to avoid air pockets and lastly, water to help establish its roots.

Following planting, simply water and monitor – that’s it. No fertilizer or pruning needed.

Watering: The Drake Elm is super easy to grow, but an adequate watering schedule is important. Water your tree regularly during the growing season (approximately one thorough watering each week is fine).

But if you’re not sure when to water your Drake, simply check its surrounding soil, down to around 2 or 3 inches. If the soil in this area is dry, it’s time to water.

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Celtis sinensis

Family: Cannabaceae Origin: China, Japan, North Korea, And Vietnam
The Chinese Elm has found a far too happy place in Australian landscapes as it’s become highly invasive. It spreads its seed easily in the wind and is self-pollinating. It is listed as an invasive species both by Brisbane City Council and the Qld Government along with other local government authorities.

It is typically found in backyards that have suffered from a lack of maintenance or hiding behind garden sheds and carports. It’s rare to see one on its own, they tend to spread out over suburban blocks.


Growth Form

This tree grows to a canopy diameter of 25m and 20m high. It can easily have a girth of over one metre at breast height. Generally, Chinese elms in backyards don’t reach these dimensions as property owners have to get them removed as juveniles. When they do reach maturity they spread their seed over entire suburban blocks.


The Chinese Elm has a variable growth form, often forming codominant leaders with inclusions of bark between them. While is a weakness, Chinese elms aren’t known for branch failures. Chunks of grey bark slough off to reveal patches of light tan and red. The texture is irregular and unique. The trunk as a whole is thin and narrow and naked of branches. Sometimes some early pruning can encourage a single long trunk, but as a weed they don’t usually receive that level of cultivation.


In Autumn, this tree produces pretty inconspicuous white flowers that have both male and female parts, making this tree self-pollinating. Pollen does get carried by wind from tree to tree cross-pollinating also.

The medium green leaves of the Chinese Elm are thick and leathery and small, no more than 5 cm long and 3cm broad. This tree is one of the last deciduous trees to lose its foliage in Brisbane. In some areas, it’s even been reported to be evergreen although this is uncommon.


One of the things that make this tree so invasive is in its fruits. The seeds are called samaras, which are basically seeds with wings attached. The wind carries the ripe seeds with these wings, sometimes for miles. The seeds usually fall off of the tree and take off in large groups, so picking them up or stopping the seed from spreading is impossible.



Easily started from seed without any special treatment.


This tree is a tough one. It can withstand many conditions, which has made one of the most invasive trees around Brisbane. It’s been used along ocean coastlines, is happy in pots, and is happy almost anywhere in almost any weather.

It does need good sun exposure to do its best, in well-draining soil. But feeding this sturdy tree or any special care is almost completely unnecessary. Controlling this tree by removing seedlings when they sprout out of place (pull or run them over with a mower), or using a systemic plant killer if you’re so inclined work well. We always recommend tree removal of this species in Brisbane.

  • Following on from our article highlighting the top 10 worst weedy trees in Brisbane part 1, we finish off the list in the lead up to the #1 most undesirable and worst tree to have in your backyard in Brisbane. We pick things up from #5 so read on:

    1. African Tulip (Spathodea Companulata)

    The African Tulip is a Class 3 noxious weedy tree species that can grow to be enormous. The tree in the below photo is approx . only 65% fully grown. My parents planted an African Tulip tree and it was my favourite tree to climb as a child growing up, so I do have a soft spot for them. The reason the Tulip has made this list is because of it’s weedy characteristics, the sheer size they can grow to and the powerful and potentially destructive root system they can have. If planted in a LARGE back yard and away from neighbouring properties, retaining walls, paths, building, then that’s fine. Otherwise, please rethink planting one of these.

    1. Pepper Tree (Schnius Terebinthifolius)

    I would estimate that for every 10 poorly maintained (overgrown) yards in Brisbane there would be at least 1 Pepper Tree in at least 8 of these properties. This Class 3 noxious weedy tree which is clearly a big fan of our sub tropical Brisbane climate grows to a fairly moderate size, maxing out at about 8 metres tall but it’s not uncommon for them to have trunks as wide as 900mm in diameter. Aside from their weedy characteristics the main issue with Pepper Trees is that they’re very difficult to train to grow in any sort of aesthetically pleasing manner – think a Geisha Girl on steroids! If they’re pruned by professionals annually, then it’s possible to tame this otherwise very messy looking tree, otherwise if left to their own devices they’ll grow to be a mass of ugly twisted branches. Do yourself a favour and remove this tree as soon as it rears it’s ugly head.

    1. Cocos Palm (Syragrus Romanzoffiana)

    The Cocos Palm is a Class 3 noxious weedy tree species that will grow almost anywhere and under almost any conditions. Growing up to 18m tall, Cocos Palms are one of the largest palm species common to the Brisbane are. They’re not an unattractive tree but will need to be cleaned at least every 8-10 months which involves removing dead fronds as Cocos Palm fronds don’t self prune like other species, removing fruit / seed and removing fruit / seed pods. With the average cost for a Cocos Palm clean on a large mature palm coming in at around $125 Inc GST PLUS travel and admin, it can certainly add up and become an expensive tree to maintain.

    Some other issues with Cocos Palms are that fallen fruit are shaped like a medium sized marble and are just as slippery. I’ve heard many stories where home owners have tripped over on the fallen fruit. The smell of the rotting fruit is very unpleasant and they also attract bats and where there’s bats there lots of bat… you know what!

    Lastly possums love to nest up in large Cocos Palm crowns – trust me, I’ve been up close and personal with about 500 possums in Cocos Palms over the years. Again, if they’re cleaned regularly this isn’t an issue.

    Nurseris aren’t allowed to sell these anymore, but if you see a juvenile coming up in your yard, do yourself a favour and remove it ASAP!

    1. Tobacco Tree (Solanum Mauritianum)

    If ever there was a tree with absolutely NO redeeming features – it has to be the disgusting Tobacco Tree. While this class 3 declared noxious pest has well and truly infiltrated itself in throughout almost every suburb in Brisbane, the worrying thing is how common it is now to see Tobacco Trees bushland throughout Brisbane. While they don’t grow to be overly big (the tree pictured above is approx. half the size it will eventually reach) they have the following traits; they’re fairly resistant to Glyphosate folia spraying (weed spraying), they have a hideous appearance, the leaves will irritate the skin if you rub up against them, the aroma from the leaves is disgustingly pungent and repulsive and their fruit is toxic. If you see one in your back yard, dig it out, stomp it out, napalm it – do what ever you need to kill this hideous tree ASAP!

    1. Chinese Elm (Celtis Sinensis)

    Coming in at number 1 for Brisbane’s Worst Weedy Tree is the much hated Chinese Elm. I should start by stating that these class 3 declared weedy trees CAN grow into big, beautiful trees – the key word here though is ‘big’. The Chinese Elm can grow to be approx. 18m’s tall with canopy diameters of over 30m’s and weights of 25 tonne +!!

    In the 10 years that North Brisbane Trees have been operating, I would estimate that we’ve remove approx. 1500 mature Chinese Elms and perhaps 25 000 juvenile Chinese Elms. They’re clearly good for business if you work in the Tree Service field, but if you’re a home owner or you live next door to a property with a Chinese Elm, then not so much!

    So what makes this sometimes attractive large tree problematic?

    1. The sheer size they grow to. It’s not uncommon for Chinese Elms to be growing over and into 4 or 5 adjoining properties.
    2. The size and power of the root systems. Chinese Elms are one of the most notorious tree Brisbane has for lifting concrete driveway, house slabs, edging etc.
    3. The size and power of their trunks. A Chinese Elm growing up against a brick wall or timber retaining wall will not be the least bit fazed and will continue to push and push as it grows until eventually the wall breaks.
    4. The damage even juvenile trees will do to chain link fencing. There’s a lot of different tree species that have the propensity to envelope a chain link fence as the grow into mature trees, but no other species will grow INTO a chain link fence and at such as young age as the Chinese Elm. We see it time and again where within a year or 2 that tiny Elm sapling has grown into a 5 metre high tree and has grown into your chainlink fence and unfortunately there’s no easy way of removing it. It’s usually just a matter of poisoning the stump and waiting for a decade or so for it to eventually rot and so it can be freed from the chainlink. Who has time to wait for that?!
    5. The leaves. The Chinese Elm is obviously not the only deciduous tree growing in Brisbane, but I can say without any doubt that no other tree irritates home owners and tenants quite like a Chinese Elm when losing it’s leaves. This is mostly due to the sheer quantity of leaves it will drop and also due to the size and shape of the leaves which has this ability to float in to wind into neighbouring properties 40 metres away from the tree.

    It’s for the above FIVE reasons that the Chinese Elm sits atop the mantle as BRISBANE’S WORST WEEDY TREE.

    If you have tree problems, call our office on 07 3289 3610 and arrange for me to either provide advice via photos or for larger, more involved jobs, I can call in for a free quote. Check out our tree services which includes tree removal, tree lopping and stump grinding.

    Trust North Brisbane Trees only – we’re a team, not a one man show and we’re the only affordable, tree experts Brisbane residents deserve!

    Chinese Elm / Ulmus parvifolia species guide

    Key Points/ Defining features
    Suits both indoor and outdoor conditions.
    Good for beginners
    One of the most tolerant for indoor care
    One of the fastest growing varieties
    Small leaves

    Chinese elms are very tolerant of a wide variety of temperatures and climates. They can be grown year round in a light warm indoor location where they will stay in leaf and growing all year. Or they can also be grown outside where they will go dormant in winter. They have quite fleshy root systems therefore if grown outdoors it is advisable to protect the roots from frost.

    In summer water daily for both indoor and outdoor trees.

    During winter months check indoor trees daily to make sure the soil surface is not dry. Outdoor trees are unlikely to need much water once they have gone dormant. Although it is worth checking your trees often during dry winters.
    Watering routines can vary depending on the temperature of your house.

    Feed May to September with a low nitrogen feed. We would recommend a slow release granular feed such as phosmag. Sprinkle sparingly on the soil surface and replenish once completely dissolved. Alternatively you can use a liquid feed such as Maxicrop Bonsai Fertiliser.

    Growth Habit
    New shoots on an Elm will extend in any direction with alternating leaves getting bigger as the shoot gets longer.
    When pruning prune back new shoots to just after a leaf. You will then get one new shoot in the direction of that leaf.

    A lot of the shaping can be done with trimming alone. General maintenance pruning is to probably trim back to 1-3 leaves on each new shoot. Woody branches and trunks are reasonable flexible and can be wired into position if necessary.

    Avoid using garden centre “bonsai” compost that will generally not drain well enough.
    Many newly imported bonsai from other retailers are often in inappropriate compost and should be re-potted at the next opportunity.
    Use free draining bonsai soil e.g. our premixed compost or if you use Japanese soils they can be planted in neat Akadama.

    For young Chinese Elms re-pot every 1-2 years
    For older trees just as needed.
    Chinese Elms should ideally be re-potted during early spring before they leaf out for outdoor trees, and any time during the winter for indoor trees.

    You can tell a bonsai needs re-potting when the root system seems very dense and the roots have started to grow in a circle around the inside of the pot. You can see this by gently lifting the tree out of its pot. This should only be done during the re-potting season.

    Other things to watch out for during the growing season are if your tree is drying out faster than usual or if its growth is less vigorous than usual.

    © Greenwood Gardens 2010

    Ulmus parvifolia ‘Drake’: ‘Drake’ Chinese Elm1

    Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson2


    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.

    Figure 1.

    Young Ulmus parvifolia ‘Drake’: ‘Drake’ Chinese elm


    Ed Gilman, UF/IFAS

    General Information

    Scientific name: Ulmus parvifolia Pronunciation: UL-mus par-vih-FOLE-ee-uh Common name(s): ‘Drake’ Chinese elm, ‘Drake’ lacebark elm Family: Ulmaceae USDA hardiness zones: 7B through 10B (Fig. 2) Origin: not native to North America Invasive potential: little invasive potential Uses: sidewalk cutout (tree pit); reclamation; urban tolerant; street without sidewalk; shade; specimen; parking lot island < 100 sq ft; parking lot island 100-200 sq ft; parking lot island > 200 sq ft; tree lawn 3-4 feet wide; tree lawn 4-6 feet wide; tree lawn > 6 ft wide; highway median Availability: not native to North America Figure 2.



    Height: 35 to 45 feet Spread: 35 to 50 feet Crown uniformity: symmetrical Crown shape: weeping, round, vase, spreading Crown density: moderate Growth rate: moderate Texture: fine


    Leaf arrangement: alternate (Fig. 3) Leaf type: simple Leaf margin: serrate, serrulate Leaf shape: obovate, elliptic (oval), ovate Leaf venation: pinnate Leaf type and persistence: semi-evergreen, evergreen Leaf blade length: less than 2 inches Leaf color: green Fall color: yellow Fall characteristic: not showy Figure 3.



    Flower color: green Flower characteristics: not showy


    Fruit shape: oval Fruit length: less than .5 inch Fruit covering: dry or hard Fruit color: brown Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; not showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

    Trunk and Branches

    Trunk/bark/branches: branches droop; showy; typically multi-trunked; thorns Pruning requirement: needed for strong structure Breakage: resistant Current year twig color: gray, brown Current year twig thickness: thin Wood specific gravity: unknown


    Light requirement: full sun, partial sun, or partial shade Soil tolerances: sand; loam; clay; acidic; alkaline; well-drained; occasionally wet Drought tolerance: high Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate


    Roots: not a problem Winter interest: yes Outstanding tree: yes Ozone sensitivity: unknown Verticillium wilt susceptibility: susceptible Pest resistance: resistant to pests/diseases

    Use and Management

    Select trees with branches spaced along one trunk. It is not essential that this trunk be straight. Buy from nurseries who understand how to train and prune this tree for street and parking lot use, otherwise you may be trimming and pruning low drooping branches on a regular basis.

    Trees which have a trunk less than about two inches in diameter often require staking and some early pruning to prevent leaning and blowover due to a heavy crown and unstable root system. Nursery operators often train trees to a single, straight trunk by staking at an early age. Leave branches on the lower trunk during this training period to encourage caliper development on the lower trunk. Older trees look nice with an occasional light thinning to show off the wonderful trunk and branch structure.

    Be sure that the trees you purchase were propagated from cuttings. If not, you may not be buying ‘Drake’ elm. Please do not confuse it with Ulmus pumila, the Siberian elm. Siberian elm is far inferior to Chinese elm and should not be planted, except perhaps in extreme climates where the limits of most other trees are tested.

    Chinese elm is sometimes topped in the nursery to create a full head of foliage and branches originate from one point on the trunk. There is not enough room on the trunk to support this type of branch structure, and some may split out from the tree as it ages. This tree may take more effort to properly train and prune when young than some other species but it is well worth the effort. It will have a long service life in urban areas with proper training early on.

    The root system is comprised of several very large-diameter roots which can grow to great distances from the trunk. These are usually located fairly close to the surface of the soil and can occasionally lift sidewalks. They can get into sewer lines causing damage. But they are usually not a problem and should not be cause to eliminate this tree from your urban tree planting program. This is among the top urban trees on most recommended tree lists in the south and midwest. Although it appears to tolerate urban conditions very well, trees in wet soil can develop a trunk canker which can kill the tree. Young trees are affected more often than older, well-established specimens.

    Chinese elm will grow in full sun on a wide range of soils, adapting easily to extremes in pH (including alkaline) or moisture, and tolerates cold, urban heat, and wind. Trees will look their best, though, when grown in moist, well-drained, fertile soil but they adapt to drought and the extremes of urban sites. Very suitable for street tree pits, parking lot islands, and other confined soil spaces.

    Many cultivars are available for size and form: ‘Catlin’ is dwarf; ‘Drake’, USDA hardiness zones 7 to 9, has small, dark green leaves, sweeping, upright branches forming a rounded crown, and greater leaf retention being almost evergreen in California and Florida; ‘Dynasty’ has smooth, dark grey bark, smaller leaves and is vase-shaped, with red fall color in the north; ‘Frosty’ has a small (0.75-inch-long), white-margined leaf which may revert back to green; ‘Emer I’ has a dark green, fine-textured uniform crown comprised of ascending branches with bright orange, grey and brown exfoliating bark. It is a brand new introduction and the parent tree is reportedly 50 years, 32 feet tall and 54 feet wide; ‘Golden Rey’ is reportedly hardy to USDA hardiness zone 6, is a moderate grower and may be denser and more compact than the species. This cultivar was selected for its yellow new foliage color which deepens to golden yellow in autumn; ‘Pathfinder’ has been extensively tested in Ohio for 30 years (USDA hardiness zone 5a). It has a single trunk with broad, upright branches and grows at a moderate height. Bark is nicely exfoliating, fall color is a rich red and this National Arboretum/Ohio Research Site introduction tolerates wet and dry soil. A good tree for tough sites; ‘Sempervirens (Pendens)’ is more round-headed, weeping and spreading with persistent foliage, almost evergreen in USDA hardiness zones 8b through 10; and ‘True Green’ has glossy, deep green leaves, a graceful, round-headed outline, and tends to be evergreen.

    Propagation is by cuttings or grafts.


    Borers and chewing insects may infest elm. Shows considerable resistance to elm leaf beetle and Japanese beetle.


    It is usually resistant to Dutch elm disease and phloem necrosis. Cankers may develop on young trunks where soil is excessively wet. These occur on nursery and landscape trees. The causal agent has not been identified but theories abound. Twig blight can be an occasional problem.


    This document is ENH-810, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2006. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at

    Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

    The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county’s UF/IFAS Extension office.
    U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.

    Drake Elm

    Middle-Aged Drake Elm – Enlarge

    Uses Shade Tree
    Common Names Chinese Elm, Drake Elm
    Scientific Name Ulmus parvifolia
    Cold Hardiness Yes
    Light Needs Full to Partial Sun
    Flower Green, Inconspicuous
    Fall Color Yellow
    Water Needs Moderate
    Leaves Lighter Green
    Evergreen/Decidiuous Semi Evergreen, short period without leaves
    Mature Height 30 to 40 feet
    Growth Rate Fast

    Originally from China, Japan, North Korea and Vietnam, the lacey and feathery, soft look of the Drake elm’s crown and its slender trunk adds a gentle addition to the Orlando homes that welcome its presence. Known to be fast-growing, they can reach up to 60′ to become a favorite shade tree. They do require a good bit of lawn for their root spread and you need to make certain the soil drains well. You won’t want to put it in damp or wet locations and if you can find the elm a sunny spot to inhabit it will grow happily.

    One of those trees that can fall victim to the Dutch elm disease, horticulturists tell us that problem can be avoided by cutting them back “hard” every 5 – 10 years. The Drake has small, glossy, green leaves that hang on into late autumn or early winter. It will bloom in early autumn, putting out small flowers, and eventually its winged fruit to follow.

    Notice the mottled reddish bark on the trunk by clicking the photograph and zooming in.

    Plant Finder

    Drake Elm

    Drake Elm

    (Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

    Drake Elm bark

    Drake Elm bark

    (Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

    Drake Elm foliage

    Drake Elm foliage

    (Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

    Height: 40 feet

    Spread: 50 feet


    Hardiness Zone: 6b

    Other Names: Chinese Elm, Lacebark Elm


    A beautiful semi-evergreen shade or street tree for distinguished landscapes, with a spreading canopy and stunning mottled bark in brown, gray and orange, very attractive in winter; fall colors of red, purple, or yellow; evergreen in warmer regions

    Ornamental Features

    Drake Elm has dark green foliage throughout the season. The small glossy pointy leaves turn an outstanding yellow in the fall. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are ornamentally significant. The mottled brown bark is extremely showy and adds significant winter interest.

    Landscape Attributes

    Drake Elm is a deciduous tree with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other landscape plants with less refined foliage.

    This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It has no significant negative characteristics.

    Drake Elm is recommended for the following landscape applications;

    • Shade

    Planting & Growing

    Drake Elm will grow to be about 40 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 50 feet. It has a high canopy with a typical clearance of 6 feet from the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. As it matures, the lower branches of this tree can be strategically removed to create a high enough canopy to support unobstructed human traffic underneath. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 70 years or more.

    This tree should only be grown in full sunlight. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under average home landscape conditions. It is not particular as to soil type or pH, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

    Elm leaf beetle treatment and management advice

    Elm leaf beetle is a pest of Elm trees in Europe and America. It was detected in Victoria, Australia (Mornington Peninsula) in 1989. Elm leaf beetle has been present in Adelaide from 2011.

    The Elm leaf beetle’s life cycle can be summarised as follows:

    • The beetles hibernate in winter in sheltered places in the garden and around buildings.
    • The adult beetles emerge in spring, feeding on leaves causing shot-hole damage.
    • The adult beetles lay their first round of eggs in October and November (double rows of very small yellow eggs on the underside of leaves).
    • The eggs hatch and go through 3 larval stages, each feeding on the leaves, leaving a skeletisation pattern. The larval stages cause most of the leaf damage.
    • The final larval stage migrates down the trunk in summer to pupate and emerge as new beetles.
    • The Elm leaf beetle’s life cycle repeats and 2-3 generations are possible in a year.
    How does the Elm leaf beetle affect my tree?

    The level of damage can vary from minor (only a small number of leaves affected with some chewing) to major (all leaves extensively damaged). The damage to the tree is largely aesthetic. Light Elm leaf beetle infestations are unlikely to have a significant impact on the long term health of your Elm tree. Heavy infestations on a regular basis have the potential to lower energy reserves with the potential to predispose your tree to other pest or disease agents over time. Maintaining good tree health is key in minimising the impacts of Elm leaf beetle on your trees health. The beetles have been known to invade the home and become a nuisance.

    What trees are affected?

    Elm leaf beetle affects European elm species including English elm (Ulmus procera), Dutch elm (Ulmus x hollandica), Golden elm (Ulmus glabra ‘Lutescens’), Wych elm (Ulmus glabra) and others. It has also been identified in Japanese zelkova (serrata). The Asian elm species such as the Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) and Ulmus ‘Sapporo Autumn Gold’ have been less affected, with fewer cases of damage by the beetle reported.

    Treatment regime

    As with any pest or disease issue, an integrated approach to managing tree health and the pest is required. This includes a combination of cultural practices, physical control and chemical control, as described below. Greater success is best achieved where all three strategies are used together.

    Cultural practices

    The following principles should be observed in maintaining the health of your tree:

    • Avoid any root disturbance within the dripline of the tree.
    • Reduce the extent of hard surfaces, paving and plant competition around your tree.
    • Maintain adequate levels of mulch around your tree. (75mm thick layer of organic mulch)
    • Maintain adequate irrigation around your tree during dry or hot weather.
    • Avoid heavy pruning and poor pruning practices.
    Chemical control – Trunk injection

    Trunk injection is our preferred method of treatment at present.
    A systemic Insecticide (containing Imidacloprid) is injected directly into the trunk.
    There is less ‘off target’ damage, where only insects living and feeding in the tree are affected (including beneficial insects). This is in contrast to spraying or soil injection where more ‘off target’ insects (and other organisms) are affected in the soil and surrounding area.
    Smaller amounts of chemical are used in this method.
    There is minor trunk wounding at the injection sites.

    Physical control

    Physically sweeping up, or vacuuming the yellow pupal cases from around the base of the tree at regular intervals greatly reduces the population of insects that can emerge and fly back up into the tree.
    Interrupting the larvae’s migration down the trunk can also provide some assistance in reducing insect numbers. A range of trunk banding methods may assist, such as horticultural glues and sticky banding.

    What should I expect?

    The uptake of the chemical depends on the tree’s transpiration rate, which in turn is affected by weather, soil moisture levels, level of existing leaf damage, tree health and other various factors. It can take up to 10 days or longer to spread throughout the crown. Branching habit can affect distribution of the chemical, particularly in the Golden elm.

    Given the voraciousness of the insect, its ability to fly from tree to tree, its ability to be transported by people and vehicles and the fact that not all trees in your area will be treated, it is expected that adult insects will reach your tree, feed and lay eggs. The chemical treatment is expected to reduce the insect population to low levels, keeping tree damage below an acceptable threshold. This treatment is not expected to eradicate the pest or prevent all insect damage.

    We anticipate that the treatment should be effective for about 2 years. We believe regular treatments every two years should provide suitable protection from the insect. More frequent treatments may be required, depending on the presence and level of reinfestation, and your tolerance to leaf damage. Some minor damage to treated trees is unavoidable and normal, and should not be a cause of concern. Please call our office if you have any questions.

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