With tulip-shaped, yellow-green flowers in late spring and stunning golden foliage in the fall.
This big deciduous tree from the magnolia family can be enormous in the landscape. But what sets it apart is the size of its late spring tulip-shaped blossoms. The foliage itself has tulip-like shapes. Unfortunately, elder trees often have blossoms that are too high in the canopy to fully appreciate. However, the color of the autumnal foliage stands out. It frequently displays color later than other deciduous trees, giving the end of fall a golden glow. Until the leaves start to change color in the fall, I frequently overlook my neighbor’s tulip tree. Conical fruits are also produced, and they remain on the tree through the winter. There are other dwarf options that are better options for a regular-sized yard and are one-third the size.
In a protected area, zone 4 and maybe zone 5 are hardy for tulip trees. Purchase trees from a nearby nursery, then plant them in the spring through early fall in full sun on wet, well-drained soil that has been supplemented with compost. Don’t visit hot, dry places. Trees should be placed at least 40 feet apart, and for dwarf varieties, closer.
Water young trees frequently. When under drought stress, they will drop their leaves. Use wood chips or bark mulch to mulch trees to shield the shallow roots. To keep the soil continuously moist and lessen damage to the trunk caused by lawnmowers and string trimmers, create a mulch ring around the drip line of trees that are planted in lawns. Utilize a tree plant food to fertilize young trees. In general, older trees don’t require fertilizing.
To prune tulip trees, remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches in the late winter. During winter storms, tulip tree limbs are readily broken due to their fragility. There aren’t many severe pest issues with tulip trees. Aphids can harm leaves and spread the sooty mold disease by attacking them. Spraying insecticidal soap on young trees is the only realistic way to manage aphids.
The majority of tulip tree varieties quickly reach huge sizes. Where they are planted needs to be considered. Generally speaking, it’s preferable to plant near an open, park-like area, a sizable yard, or the edge of a forest. Avoid places that are near buildings or power lines. It’s a fantastic tree to plant if growing flowers and fruits and wanting to attract pollinators to your environment because the blossoms entice bees and hummingbirds. The swallowtail butterfly’s larval stage also hosts on tulip plants.
A novel tulip tree introduction, “Majestic Beauty,” with variegated yellow and green leaves. The dwarf cultivars “Arnold” and “Little Volunteer” reach heights of 30 to 50 feet and a columnar width of 8 to 15 feet. These are good options for streets and modest yards.
How far should a tulip poplar tree be planted?
The University of Kentucky Department of Horticulture advises spring planting of tulip poplar saplings that have been wrapped in burlap. When cultivating a moisture-sensitive species like the tulip poplar, burlap-wrapped nursery trees are more drought tolerant than bare root or container-grown seedlings. Two to three times the root ball’s width should be the width of the planting hole. To prevent the tree from sitting too deep in the hole, the hole must also be 2 to 3 inches shallower than the root ball. Make a planting hole that is formed like a bowl with a top that is broader than a bottom and sloped edges.
The tulip poplar should be placed in the planting hole such that the top of the root ball is 2 to 3 inches above the surrounding dirt, according to the Iowa State University Extension. Holding the sapling erect, add soil to the area around the root ball. Cut away and remove the burlap from the top of the root ball after filling the hole halfway with dirt and tamping it down. Finish backfilling the hole, then add soil to cover the exposed area of the root ball. After planting the tree, give it a good watering.
Where should a tulip poplar tree be planted?
Tulip trees require areas with full sun and soil that is rich, wet, and well-draining. With the exception of areas with little sun, the plant develops into an arching dome from its pyramidal starting point. Low light conditions might cause the branches to become thin and feeble.
A well-worked soil is needed for successful planting because the plant’s fleshy root system doesn’t reach very far from the plant. Make sure the tree has access to water, or provide it with extra irrigation in the summer and early fall because it does not tolerate drought well. The pH of the soil should be neutral to acidic.
Make sure the tree will have enough room in the location you choose because it will grow very tall and have branches that can reach 40 feet in length (12 m.).
When should a tulip poplar tree be planted?
The Liriodendron tulipifera, sometimes known as the tulip tree, is a highlight of the fall foliage season thanks to the similarity of its blossoms to the traditional tulip. Tulip trees, also known as yellow poplars, are tall, straight deciduous trees with a thin crown that enlarges with age. They are indigenous to Eastern North America and are the state trees of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. The spring blossoms and distinctive leaf shape of these quickly expanding trees make them easy to recognize.
The blossoms have a hint of orange on the outer and are yellowish-green in color. Broadly lobed and silky green, the leaves change to a brilliant golden yellow in the fall. Once the last frost has past, early spring is the best time to plant the trees. As they get older, their growth will reduce after beginning to grow quickly (greater than 25 inches per year). The nectar in the tulip tree’s blossoms attracts hummingbirds and bees in the spring, while bobwhite quail, rabbits, squirrels, and other animals prefer to eat the seed. The fruit, which resembles a cone, that the blossoms leave behind is equally attractive.
How frequently should a tulip tree be watered after planting?
Water. Consider adding five to seven gallons of additional irrigation every week, particularly in the summer and early fall. When the top three inches of soil are dry, you can water as well.
Fertilize. Although fertilization is not necessary for tulip trees, there are times when it is advantageous. For the first several years after planting, fertilizer a tulip tree can encourage healthy growth, while fertilizing mature plants can encourage blossoming. If flower development is sluggish, fertilize in the early spring using a fertilizer designed for acidic soil.
Mulch. For moisture retention, spread a two to four inch layer of mulch around the base of the tree.
pest management. Tulip tree scales and tulip tree aphids can cause infestations in tulip trees. Aphids on tulip trees are tiny, pink or green insects. The insects known as tulip-tree scales measure about 1/4 inch long and have green or orange-pink bodies. Both bugs leave behind a sticky substance known as honeydew on the tree’s leaves and feed in vast colonies on plant sap. Utilize insecticides or predator insects like lady beetles or pirate bugs to get rid of these pests as soon as you can.
disease prevention. Cankers, which are discolored depressions or malformations that can be caused by bacterial or fungal infections, are prone to appearing on tulip trees. If the diseased branch is found, cut it off completely and sanitize the cutting tool’s blade after each cut to stop the infection from spreading. Use a fungicide or bactericide if the infection is severe.
Are tulip poplars healthy trees?
A tulip poplar tree would look great in my sizable backyard. However, I don’t see them being offered for sale in garden centers. How do you feel about them?
A: Although there are some positive aspects of tulip poplars, there are also enough negative aspects that they are not one of my top picks for a landscape tree.
On the bright side, tulip poplars, sometimes known as tulip trees, are gorgeous to behold in blossom, a native species that bees find attractive, and they grow well as timber trees.
On the negative side, they grow quickly and become too large for a typical yard. In less than ten years, tulip poplars can grow up to 20 feet tall and nearly that broad, eventually reaching 70 to 80 feet tall and 50 feet wide.
The fact that they grow quickly and have weak wood, which makes them more likely to break off branches during storms than many other tree species, is a significant problem in my opinion.
They are also prone to aphid infestations, which don’t harm the trees but do release a misty liquid waste known as “aphid rain,” which can be quite a pain if you’re trying to sit or walk underneath.
Practically speaking, I’ve heard owners of them frequently lament the “messiness” caused by the enormous petals that fall after bloom and once more when the numerous big leaves fall in the fall. As the tree becomes bigger, there are also more leaves falling.
Due to the size of their roots, tulip poplars can make it difficult to cultivate a lawn or other plants next to them.
Tulip poplars, in my opinion, are beautiful to look at in wooded areas and other expansive, natural settings, but there are many other better large-tree landscape options unless you have a large yard and are comfortable with the roots, dropping petals and leaves, possibility of aphids, and limb-dropping in ice storms.
Blackgum, red maple, Freeman maple, katsura, and red and white oaks are a few larger shade trees I enjoy. Most of them are described and illustrated in my Plant Profiles page.
Readers should be aware that if you use one of our affiliate links to make a purchase, we might receive a commission.