How to Help My Tulip Poplar Tree


The tulip poplar tree (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) is also commonly known as a yellow-poplar, tulip magnolia, tulip tree and whitewood. It is a fast-growing tree in the magnolia family and has alternating tulip-shaped leaves, which flower April through June in a green and yellow color. While a fairly hardy tree, a tulip poplar can develop problems without the proper watering, sunlight, fertilization and protection from ice and wind. By preventing these problems and adjusting to the conditions most favorable to the tulip poplar, you should be able to return your tree to good health.

Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need
  • Watering can or hose
  • Fertilizer
  • Garden shears
    1. Adjust the amount of water you are giving to your tree. The tulip poplar has moderate water requirements. Therefore if you are over-watering your tree, you are probably seeing damaging results. During the summer, water an immature tree once a week, making sure not to flood the soil. A fully matured tree (75 to 100 feet) may need more water, though always make sure that after watering you do not feel muddy soil. All other times of the year, water only when the soil is dry to the touch, aiming to keep the roots wet but not over-watered.
    2. Adjust the sunlight that your tulip poplar gets. While the tree does very well full sunlight, it will not do well in shade. If your tulip poplar is too shaded, especially during the afternoon sun, trim other trees and branches around it in order to give it more access to direct sunlight.
    3. Fertilize once a month during the summer month with a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 fertilizer. If you have a very young tree, you should consider fertilizing twice a month while it is coming out of its dormancy, and then once a month during the summer. Pellet and liquid fertilizers are also good for your tulip poplar. They really thrive with fertilizers, so if you are not already using one, this may be a reason why your tree is not doing well.
    4. Trim weeds from the area around your tree. They may compete with your tree for the nutrients in the soil.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid using chemical weed sprays in the soil or nearby grass, as the tulip poplar, especially a young tree, can be severely damaged by these chemicals

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