A beloved tree, tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera) are radiant with their flowers, size, and tulip-shaped leaves. This is why they are also the state tree not only for Kentucky, but also for Indiana and Tennessee. Additionally, when it is in its favored growing environment, it will grow fast and become one of the tallest eastern hardwoods. Although there were many more of the trees, there are much less since loggers preferred to cut them for railroad ties and fence posts. Other names for the tulip tree include tulip poplar, tulip magnolia, and yellow poplar. However, it is actually not a poplar but a deciduous member of the magnolia. Lastly, George Washington planted this tree at Mount Vernon which is now 140′ tall.
- Uses: Tulip poplars provide shade because of their canopy, and beauty through their tulip shaped flowers. Because of their size, they aren’t suited for small gardens. Additionally they are important for wildlife.
- Size/Shape: At maturity they can reach 70–90′ with a width of 40’.
- Color: These trees produce 2- 3-inch, cup shaped flowers made up of six yellowish green, orange petals. In the fall, the leaves turn into a vibrant yellow.
- Hardiness Zones: 4 – 9
- Pests and Diseases
- Armillaria root rot.
- Cylindrocladium root rot. (Similar to root and crown rot)
- Crown gall.
- Leaf spot diseases.
- Powdery mildew.
- Sooty mold.
- Verticillium wilt.
- Wood decay.
- Bloom Period: From late spring, May, until midsummer, these trees produce beautiful flowers.
- Pollination: These trees can self-pollinate since they contain both male and female parts.
- Cultivation: These trees grow about 1-2 feet a year and require full sun.
- Soil Preference: They can grow in acidic, clay, loamy, moist, sandy, ad well drained soils.
- Wildlife Value: During the fall/winter, white-tailed deer and rabbits browse the tree (which means they eat the leaves, twigs, and buds). Then, the flowers during the spring provide nectar for ruby-throated hummingbirds. Then lastly, the birds, squirrels, and rabbits eat the seeds through winter.
Check out our guides page for information on how to take care of trees.