Q: I had to take down a big oak and I want to replace it. A friend mentioned Chinese elm. What are your thoughts?
A: Chinese elm, Ulmus parvifolia, also known as lacebark elm, is an excellent tree. The bark is particularly attractive, looking like a big jigsaw puzzle. This elm is fast-growing, drought-tolerant and has few pests. If you want shade, look for the ‘Athena’ variety. Be sure not to buy a Siberian elm, Ulmus pumila, as it is vastly inferior.