Tulip Tree Information, Problems, and Care
Liriodendron tulipifera also known as tulip poplar is neither tulip nor poplar. This species is a relative of the magnolia tree and is unbelievably easy to care for.
A native North American species, L. tulipifera is the state tree of multiple states, unique in its rapid rate of growth, and exceptional in its beauty. The tulip tree should be strongly considered for mid-sized and large landscapes.
72tree.com gathered tulip tree information, problems, care tips, and answers several frequently asked questions.
Tulip Tree Information
Liriodendron tulipifera is a blooming tree species native to eastern North America. The tulip tree is among the tallest of the eastern US species, is long-lived, and a favorite specimen tree in landscaping.
Tree Name – Yellow poplar
Scientific Name/Species – Liriodendron tulipifera
Family – Magnoliaceae
Genus – Liriodendron
Nickname(s) – Tulip tree, tulipwood, American tulip tree, tulip tree, tulip poplar, whitewood, and Oonseentia (in the native Miami-Illinois language).
State Tree – Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
Lifespan – Can live up to 500 years or more when planted in optimal conditions.
Type – Deciduous.
Hardiness Zone(s) – from 4 to 9
Soil Requirements – Prefers well-drained, slightly acidic, moist, rich, and fertile soil with full sun exposure.
Planting Spacing – 35ft between trees.
Watering Requirements – Regular when young or planted. Minimal thereafter.
Height – 80 to 100ft on average (can reach nearly 200ft under optimal conditions)
DBH – 4 to 6ft.
Crown Span – 30ft or more at maturity (can be conical or oval in shape).
Root Spread – Yellow poplar roots will tend to match the growth of the tree. If the tree is 100ft tall by 40ft wide, its roots will likely grow 100ft deep and 40ft wide. In some cases, the roots may extend much farther outward in search of water.
Uses in Landscaping – A magnificent specimen, screen, or large shade tree, and is better suited for more spacious landscapes.
Winter/Fall Colors – Yellow before leaf-drop in the fall.
Tulip Tree Problems
Healthy tulip trees are incredibly resistant to insect infestations and disease. However, when your tree is stressed by drought conditions, soil compaction, soil nutrient depletion, or poor pruning, insects and diseases can successfully attack it.
Pests – Tuliptree scale, yellow poplar weevil, and aphids, in the spring and summer months.
Disease – Powdery mildew, verticillium wilt, and canker.
Major Disease Threat – Verticillium Wilt
Symptoms of Verticillium wilt are premature foliar chlorosis and necrosis, and discoloration in both stems and roots. Symptoms of wilting become more apparent on warm or hot days.
This pathogen attacks a potential host by colonizing its roots and spreading throughout the roots, trunks, and stems. Due to this, one of the best forms of disease management is to encourage the healthy growth of your tree.
Tulip Tree Care Tips
There isn’t much you will need to worry about as long as your tulip tree is:
• Within its hardiness zone (4-9).
• Growing in partial shade to full sun.
• Planted in moist, well-drained soil with a pH of 3.7 to 6.5.
Pruning should be done once the tree has entered dormancy in late fall and early winter. However, when cankers are detected, prune out the affected area including the canker (all the way to the trunk if needed).
If the canker is located on the trunk, or when other irregularities are detected, call on a professional tree service or arborist to evaluate the tree and offer guidance.
People Also Ask
Question: Are tulip tree roots invasive?
Answer: No. If they are planted far from structures, walkways, or driveways, and the roots are readily able to absorb moisture.
Answer: Yes. As with all tree species, the purpose of roots is a never-ending quest for water and nutrients. When they are deprived, they will spread, and make their way underneath foundations and other structures.
For more on the destructive capabilities of tree roots, read 72tree.com/tree-roots-buckling-concrete-driveway/
Question: What is tulip poplar wood used for?
Answer: Lumber from tulip poplars is commonly used for fencing, siding, flooring, and some furniture.
Question: Can poplar wood be painted?
Answer: As this wood has a particularly straight grain, paints adhere to it quite well. Stains, on the other hand, have a tendency to blotch and usually require that a conditioner be applied before application.
Question: Is poplar as strong as oak?
Answer: No. While considered to be a hardwood, the fast growth rate of the tree produces a softer/weaker wood making it easy to work with.
Question: Do tulip trees bloom every year?
Answer: Yes. However, this species only produces its first blooms after nearly 20 years of growth. Thereafter, it will bloom annually in late spring or early summer.
Question: Are tulip trees messy?
Answer: Yes. Like all deciduous tree species, they lose their foliage in the fall. If subjected to drought conditions, tulip trees may drop their foliage prematurely in late summer. Not to mention that when the tree blooms, the flower petals will litter the ground around the tree.
Question: Can tulip trees be planted in Georgia?
Answer: Yes. The entire state is within the required hardiness zone for healthy tulip tree growth. For more on this and other great landscape trees, read 72tree.com/5-popular-alpharetta-ga-shade-trees/
Liriodendron Tulipifera is a Perfect Landscape Specimen
Although sometimes called “tulip” or “poplar,” or both, the Liriodendron tulipifera is neither of the two. This magnificent relative of the magnolia rapidly grows tall and full, making it highly desirable as a landscape specimen tree.
In this article, you discovered tulip tree information and specifications, its problems, how to care for them, and answers to frequently asked questions.
If the tulip tree isn’t a part of your landscape, you are missing out on a fast growing and beautifully shaped shade or screen tree. They are easy to plant and require minimal care efforts.
5 Popular Alpharetta Georgia Shade Trees
If there were ever to be a change to the name of this city it would have to include – ‘Tree Friendly’. Alpharetta Georgia is home to not one or two but three Arboretums! Cogburn Road Park, Webb Bridge Park and Wills Park all provide a walk through amazing native specimens.
Trees have a tendency to provide and support a natural eco-infrastructure. Nesting birds, mischievous squirrels and plant life thriving in the shade of the canopy are a few examples of how trees share their life with their surroundings.
Our Arborists Share the Basic Characteristics of 5 Shade Trees
Red Maple – When Red Maples turn brilliant scarlet in the fall, the song lyric “Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls Of Fire” may come to mind. If color explosions are your autumn heart’s desire, this shade tree is a must have on your list.
Red Maples when mature, can reach upwards of 80 feet, but most mature at 50 feet. These specimens have a canopy spread of up to 40 feet, and display the stereotypical range of fall green, yellow and red hues.
This extremely robust tree has been recognized by the US Forest Service for being eastern North America’s most populous native tree. Next to their fall foliage, their resilient qualities to remain healthy through weather and soil severities play a large part in their popularity.
From low to high altitudes and from swamps to arid soil, Red Maples are able to adapt, which makes them an ideal tree to shade your backyard.
Eastern Redbud – The state tree of Oklahoma reaches 20 to 30 feet in height with a canopy diameter of 25 to 30 feet. The Eastern Redbud has beautiful green leaves, turning to bright yellow in the fall before losing them.
The true show is revealed in the spring. This tree flowers before and with emerging leaves, continuing into early summer. The light to dark pink flowers bloom in clusters, eventually giving way to its fruit. The fruit are flat pea-like pods, with maturation occurring from August through October.
With the reds and yellows fighting for your attention, it would be an epic sight to come across a row of alternating Red Maples and Eastern Redbuds in the fall?
Willow Oak – ‘Weeping Willows’, as they are popularly known, have those mesmerizing leaf laden branches draped towards the ground gently waving in the slightest of breezes.
While highly desirable, the Willow Oak is not an ideal tree for all Alpharetta yards. This species should be discussed with your local tree expert before coming to any conclusions.
With a short trunk and broad canopy, mature trees reach 50 feet high and 40 feet across. The most suitable environments for these species are along riverbanks and ponds where the roots can run freely.
In their non-stop hunt for water sources, Willows are known for their invasive root systems potentially interrupting sewer and water lines. Preferring full sun, Willows are the first to produce leaves and last to shed them in the fall.
Red Oak Trees – The Red Oak gallantly reaches upwards of 75 feet with an amazing canopy spread of 50 feet.
As they are fast growing, robust and expansive canopy trees, Red Oaks are a piece of perfection in the land of shade trees.
The bark of a mature Oak looks to have wrinkly ridges running up and down. If your potential was to live to be 500 years old, you might develop a few wrinkles too.
All in all, the iconic Red Oak truly is a perfect fit for Alpharetta yards and a perfectly shaded landscape.
Yellow Poplar – This quick to develop tree can reach 160 feet in height, but is ordinarily about 85 feet. Their development is counter-intuitive in that they grow slower and shorter in full sun, and taller in shaded areas.
The Yellow Poplar is the tallest eastern hardwood tree. Like the Red Oak, this shade thrower lives up to 500 years old as well.
Sitting erect, the flower of this amazing tree is greenish yellow with red and orange dashes, with a striking resemblance to a tulip, thus the nickname, ‘Tulip Tree’.
This specimen tree does better in soil with high amounts of organic matter, due to its fragile and fleshy roots. Likewise, it has a poor tolerance to drought.
Outstanding Shade Trees for Your Alpharetta Yard
Trees partner with surrounding vegetation to halt soil erosion and even provide natural fertilization when their fallen leaves decay. The high temperatures during the summer months make shade trees desirable to Alpharetta residents. Once planted, prune your trees so they grow a nice full canopy. With that in mind, make informed specimen selection decisions leading towards a beautiful, balanced and well-shaded landscape.