Village Green Zelkova – Zelkova serrata var. 'Village Green'

Village Green Zelkova
Zelkova serrata var. 'Village Green'

Village Green Zelkova is a large vase-shaped shade tree with resistance to Dutch Elm disease.

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Village Green Zelkova foliage
Japanese Zelkova is a large shade tree maturing at about 60' tall by 60' wide . It has an upright vased growth habit, hence the cultivar name "green vase." It has a rapid growth rate in youth, slowing to a medium growth rate during middle age and at maturity. Grows best in full to partial sun, and prefers moist, well-drained, deep soils but is very adaptable and urban tolerant (especially to heat, drought, pollution, poor soils, and soils of various pH levels).

Even though a member of the Elm Family, it has no disease or pest problems of significance, including Dutch Elm Disease. It may be the best replacement for the American Elm (Ulmus americana), in terms of Japanese Zelkova's resistance to Dutch Elm Disease and its vased growth habit (although it is not nearly as tall or arching as American Elm). Due to its very dense canopy when young, it should be periodically thinned to allow light flow into the interior canopy and to reduce the number of branches originating at the vase branch point.

Japanese Zelkova is very sensitive to being transplanted in autumn, and care should be taken to amend the soil, fertilize, water thoroughly, mulch adequately, and avoid salt aerosols.

Village Green Zelkova
Zelkova serrata
var. "Village Green." Tree was started from graft 37 years ago [2]

Flower: Monoecious; yellow-green, not showy, occur in tight clusters along new stems; appearing before the leaves. Fruit: A small triangular drupe, 1/6 inch long, green and later turning brown, maturing in mid to late summer. Twig: Very slender, zigzag, red-brown in color; buds are reddish brown, cone-shaped, pointed, and widely divergent.

Bark: Smooth and red-brown to gray when young with numerous lenticels; remains smooth for many years but eventually exfoliates into small patches, reddish brown in color.

Leaves: alternate, ovate, serrated to crenate margins, with a short acuminate tip and a base that is equal on both sides of the petiole. Dark green and clean summer foliage transitions to a very appealing mixture of yellow, gold, orange, burgandy, red, and wine fall color, in October and early November. 

Variants — Zelkova serrata 'Green Vase' – more upright-vased in growth habit with strongly ascending branches, rapidly growing, to 65' tall by 55' wide, with yellow-orange to bronze-red fall color. Zelkova serrata 'Village Green' – more round-vased at maturity, to 45' tall by 40' wide, with wine-red fall color.


  1. The Morton Arboretum, "Zelkova serrata var. "Village Green.""
  2. Zelkova serrata, Morton Arboretum accession Photos © Bruce Marlin
Tree Encyclopedia / North American Insects & Spiders is dedicated to providing scientific and educational resources for our users through use of large images and macro photographs of flora and fauna.
Family Ulmaceae – Zelkovas, Hackberries and Elms
There are about 200 species of trees and shrubs in Ulmaceae. Elms fell victim to Dutch Elm disease during the 1950s; until that time, they were the premier shade tree along the streets of American towns and cities. The Morton Arboretum has bred and marketed five new varieties resistant to Dutch elm disease.
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