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How to Sprout a Tulip Poplar Tree


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Tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) is a hardwood tree native to the Eastern United States. The tulip poplar is a fast-growing tree that can reach massive heights of 200 feet at maturity. Striking yellowish-green and orange blooms appear in May and June. By early autumn, the blooms are replaced by clusters of seed pods. The foliage has a yellow appearance in spring, turning dark green in summer and back to yellow in autumn. Although tulip poplar is often propagated from cuttings, the tree isn’t difficult to sprout from seeds.

Difficulty:
Moderate

Instructions

Things You’ll Need
  • Magnolia seed pods
  • Tray
  • Bowl
  • Windscreen or wire mesh
  • Spade or shovel
  • Mulch
    1. Gather a seed pod from a healthy tulip poplar tree when the seed pods turn dry in September or October. Spread the seed pods on a tray in warm, well-ventilated spot until the seeds are dry and can be easily removed from the pods.
    2. Soak the tulip poplar seeds in a bowl of warm water overnight. Rub the seeds on window screen or piece of wire mesh to remove the fleshy outer coating.
    3. Prepare a spot where the tulip poplar seed will be exposed to sunlight during the morning but protected from the sun during the hottest part of the day. Loosen the soil in the planting area to a depth of 8 to 10 inches, using a spade or shovel. Plant a tulip poplar seed in the soil, then cover the seed with 1/4 inch of soil.
    4. Water the area lightly. Don’t over-water, or the poplar seed may rot during the winter months. Cover the planting area with 3 to 4 inches of mulch such as straw, pine needles, chopped leaves or shredded bark.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tulip poplar seeds can also be planted in spring, but the seeds must be stratified first, as the seeds require three to six months of cold before they will germinate. Place a mixture of half sand and have peat moss in a plastic bag. Dampen the mixture so that it will stick together, but not so wet that it drips. Place the tulip poplar seeds in the mixture, then tie the top of the bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator until spring.

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