Tuliptree is the tallest tree of eastern forests with the straightest trunks, achieving heights of well over 100 feet with 4 foot diameters, when not prematurely harvested. It frequents moist woodlands and edges of fields, especially on downslopes where water drains. Its lightweight wood, often used as a base for veneer, is straight-grained, relatively soft for a hardwood, and has a faded olive-green color.
Native throughout most of the Eastern United States, it quickly reaches a height of 80 feet and a breadth of 40 feet, but it can grow much taller. As a member of the Magnolia Family, it is related to the Magnolias (including Cucumbertree) and the only other Tuliptree (Chinese Tuliptree).
Planting Requirements - Tuliptree prefers moist but well-drained, slightly acidic, deep, rich soils, but adapts to average, drier soils of neutral to alkaline pH. It is one of the fastest growing shade trees, achieving leaps of two to three feet per year in youth, when it has a symmetrical, pyramidal outline. As with all members of the Magnolia Family, it is fleshy-rooted without many root hairs, and prefers being transplanted in early spring, rather than autumn. It grows in full sun to partial sun, and is found in zones 4 to 9.
Potential Problems - Tuliptree has one significant pest (aphids), which chew on new growth and secrete a sticky substance (known as honeydew) on the leaves, which serves as food for a sooty mold, rendering the leaves blackened with fungus and unattractive, but not harmed.
Diseases that afflict Tuliptree include Verticillium wilt, root rot, and trunk canker. Tuliptree is one of the most common trees (the Birches as a group are another) that serve as "drought indicators" by dropping their yellowing interior leaves when their soil becomes too dry during summer drought. This is simply how they cope with drought, by cutting down on the number of transpiring "water leaks".
The Tulip Poplar is one of 8 tree seedlings which will be offered in the 2014 Tree Sale held by the district. Other seedlings include Douglas fir, Sawtooth oak, American chestnut, Butternut, Red Maple, White Pine, and Black Alder. Also available this year are 2 varieties of apples; Nova Spy and Goldrush. The district will also offer 2 varieties of blueberry; Aurora, and Blue Ray. New this year is a cover crop mix for gardeners. And as usual, the district has high quality all cedar birdfeeders and houses for sale. For more information and to receive an order blank, please call 740-432-5624.