Zelkova serrata

Musashino zelkova (Zelkova serrata ‘Musashino’) is one a number of Japanese Zelkova tree cultivars widely used in landscaping.

With a narrow upright habit compared to other Zelkova cultivars including the popular Zelkova ‘Green Vase’. Zelkova species and cultivars make ideal street trees and all prefer full sun to part shade.

The real beauty of these trees is their adaptability for use in urban situations.

They are reasonably fast growing, good green foliage from spring through summer and good fall color as well, most being a yellow to coppery red.

Most species are well suited to USDA Zones 5 – 8.


The main trick with growing Zelkova serrata is to prune it to a good shape when young. They tend to be a little crowded in the head. A good nursery will have already started this process.

Zelkova species and varieties

Most popular Zelkova trees are Zelkova serrata cultivars. Used widely as street trees a number of forms are available that display different characteristics. The species itself can reach around 60 ft in height.

However many of the cultivars are much lower growing in cultivation.

  • Zelkova serrata ‘Green Vase’ is a moderate to fast growing tree with an upright habit making it suitable for narrow streets.
  • The Musashino Zelkova (Zelkova serrata ‘Musashino’) has an even narrower habit.
  • Zelkova serrata ‘Halka’ is a large growing spreading tree, sometimes used instead of elm trees, fast growing and generally very hardy.
  • Zelkova serrata ‘Village Green’ will form a wide crown and makes a good shade tree.
  • Look also to the form Zelkova serrata ‘Halka Red’ with red foliage.
  • Zelkova serrata, ‘Schmidtlow’ (Wireless Zelkova) is a low growing cultivar to around 21 ft but with a wide crown (30 ft) and is excellent for planting beneath power lines or for use as a shade tree. Again a moderate to fast growing tree.