Musashino Japanese Zelkova Tree
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Musashino Japanese Zelkova Tree
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Growth Facts

Musashino Japanese Zelkova

Zelkova serrata 'Musashino'
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Musashino Japanese Zelkova isn’t exactly a household name, but this tree should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for a tall, upright, tough, and sturdy specimen that won’t get too wide. Musashino, growing at a moderately fast pace, rises proud and strong like a spire, lending a powerful vertical element to your landscape. The foliage is dense, making a row of trees an effective seasonal privacy screen. When nights turn frosty, the leaves take on warm autumn colors, ranging from bronzy gold to burnished orange. When they drop, many of the small, thin leaves blow away, making fall cleanup a simple matter.

Growth Facts

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The Story

The Japanese Zelkova, normally a vase-shaped shade tree, belongs to the Elm family and has been considered a good substitute for the American Elm since the arrival of Dutch Elm disease, as it is resistant to the fungus. Musashino is a unique columnar selection of Zelkova that was introduced by J. Frank Schmidt Nursery of Boring, Oregon in 2000. J. Frank Schmidt is a well-respected grower that has been in the tree business for over 60 years. Although Musashino was new to the U.S. in 2000, it had been grown for many years previously in Japan. It was named for a suburb of Tokyo where it has been used as a street tree.

The Details

Tolerating salt spray, drought, pollution, and winter lows down to -20°F, Musashino is a survivor. Its tough constitution, coupled with its slim shape, have earned it a place in city gardens and along city sidewalks. In fact, the Society of Municipal Arborists named Musashino Japanese Zelkova their Urban Tree of the Year for 2016.

How to Grow

Musashino Japanese Zelkova is an easy-to-please tree that even novice gardeners will succeed with, provided its few simple needs are met. Plant this tree in a sunny location, as shade will cause it to lose its nice, tight habit. It isn’t picky about soil, but it doesn’t like “wet feet”—excess water must drain away after a rain. Irrigate with the Bower & Branch Elements™ Watering System during the establishment period to help your tree develop a strong root system. It will be relatively drought tolerant in subsequent years. Musashino grows quickly in youth and responds to annual fertilization. It will naturally slow down a bit as it ages. Pruning will seldom be necessary.

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale


Size: B

Size B

Size: C

Size C

This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.

Size B Trees:

8-10' tall. Grown in our #15 tree container in this size. Stem caliper 1 1/2". Limbed up high for street tree planting. Excellent canopy and structure.

Size C Trees:

10-12' Tall Grown in our #20 or #25 tree container. A great tree for your landscape.

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Musashino Japanese Zelkova Tree