The Sawleaf zelkova grows into a medium to large size deciduous tree with a moderate growth rate that commonly reaches 40-50 ft. high and as wide. Young plants quickly develop an upward vase-shaped form; mature plants age with dome-shaped canopies. Rich fall foliage colors of red, orange and yellow will occur during cool fall temperatures. Foliage is comprised of simple, 2-3 in. long leaves that have coarsely serrated margins.
Sawleaf zelkova is native to moist and cool climate zones of eastern China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan. It is best adapted to rich soils with regular water and cold winters; these conditions lead to faster growth rates and larger sizes. As a result, the largest trees growing in California are often grown in lawns where they receive regular water. However, this species has proven to be widely adapted to many conditions, enduring heat, aridity and short periods of drought as it matures. It is mostly valued as a broad canopy shade tree and for its reddish fall color.