The drake elm, also known as the lacebark elm or Chinese elm, may be small, but it is mighty. Standing only forty to fifty feet high and thirty to forty feet wide, the drake elm is a cheerful tree that adds shade and comfort to any outdoor space. The drake elm is an exceptionally fast growing tree producing a thin trunk with thin, weeping branches crowded with clusters of dark green leaves. The further south you are the brighter these green leaves will appear during the winter months.
While the drake elm does not boast a bloom, and is therefore devoid of color, the shiny green leaves are beautiful in their own right measuring two to three inches long. A drake elm is also well known for its unique bark that weathers and peels as the tree gets older. The bark is therefore transformed into a collage of colors ranging from grey to green to orange to brown. This process is perhaps best appreciated in the winter when the mosaic bark stands out against an otherwise bare landscape.
Drake elm trees require little care and stand up well in harsh weather. Its thin frame, for example, allows wind to pass easily through the tangled web of its branches and the tree is practically immune to pest infestations. They prefer direct to partial sunlight and require little in the way of water apart from an extensive amount of watering following the initial planting of the tree. The drake elm should be planted in well-drained soil. Do not plant the tree in dry soil or soil that tends to pool with excess water. This rule is typical of most plants. The drake elm does not require any pruning, but branches may be cut off if they appear to be dangling or struggling.