Why is my Drake Elm different?

peabody1May 21, 2014

Trees located Central Florida. I have two Drake Elm trees in my back yard that are 3 years old. No other trees. My neighbors across the street have a single drake elm in their front yard. Their tree is probably 11 years old. Their tree retains its leaves until way into the winter. My trees start losing their leaves at the first cold spell. Landscapers kept telling me we had the same trees, but by the way the trees acted I thought they were mistaken. Why does their tree retain its leaves so long and mine start loosing leaves at the first hint of cold weather?

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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Drake is a cultivar of Chinese Elm, Ulmus parvifolia. Drake is semi-evergreen, but most Chinese Elm cultivars (and most grown from seed) are deciduous.

What likely happened is one of two scenarios:

1. The tree *was* a Drake - a drake scion was grafted to a Chinese Elm Seedling rootstock, but the scion died and the rootstock sent another shoot up to replace it. Since the shoot came from the seedling rootstock, it probably loses its leaves in fall when most other Chinese elms do.

2. It is a different cultivar entirely (like "Allee" or "Athena") that is fully deciduous, but was mislabeled as 'Drake'.

So it's probably the same species of tree, so looks similar enough, but does not posess the semi-evergreen trait that 'Drake' has.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 12:20PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

To know for sure, see if you could get us some pictures - one whole shot of the entire tree, a leaf closeup, and maybe a picture of the trunk and base of the tree so we can see if there's a graft, etc.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 12:22PM
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There is a row of Drake Elms along a road near the stadium here. I forget how many, but close to two dozen. All but one or two lose their leaves in winter. I would imagine the landscapers planted all those trees from the same batch.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 12:28PM
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