Friday, November 12, 2010

Zelkova trees

This is their brief, shining moment, and they make the most of it, as we all must, when and if the light is turned upon us. Sing sing sing, and then it is all over.

For the rest of the year the zelkova trees - Zelkova serrata - just sort of stand there, doing nothing but throw their arms up and out. My attitude shows that we are spoiled around here for street trees. Grand red oaks, turning now, sweet gum, deep red, perfumed summer lindens, balletic London planes, dinosaur ginkos, the weak-crotched white blossomed pears, the sweet spring honey locusts who are the first to turn bright yellow in the fall. The golden raintree, buzzing with bees in summer, dotted with lantern-like seedpods now and orange ten days ago. And in the nearby parks and gardens, birches, service berry, maples, magnolias, lilacs, crabapples, cherries, dogwoods. And many more.

But for now, and the next week, on this block at any rate, it is the zelkovas' moment of glory.


  1. Well, outside any control of mine, we have three new Zelkovas in front of my apartment building, and several more mature specimens on the block. They are not special.

    But, in the spirit of fairness, I feel I must stand up and speak for the trees. They have a few traits that are minor, and unnoticed, but something.

    Thanks to their size and branching habit, we can feel pretty certain that they won't break a limb that will smash our car or kill us. Phew.

    They have done the best of all the new trees planted on our commercial strip, indicating that they can survive heat, pollution, and abuse to some degree. Be still my beating heart.

    They appear not to be helitropic (like the plane) or lift sidewalks to great degree. Who could ask for anything more?


  2. We have one Zelkova tree in the front of our house and it is the most brilliant tree in the Autumn. It only have maybe 20 or 30 leaves left on it now but when it is in color: incredible. It doesn't get noticed much the rest of the year as it has gotten so tall but doesn't even really produce much shade amongst all our other pines, madrones and fir here in the woods. Hooray for some autumn color!

  3. zelkova looks beautiful against the blue sky.

    Not much blue sky here for days. Rain and wind unfortunately which has pulled most of the leaves down now.

  4. I've been admiring the zelkovas too, here in Bklyn and in Manh as well. I pick up the leaves, they are such an elegant shape. But they lose their yellow-gold gleam, of course.


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