Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree / Yellow Poplar) - Qt Super Plugs


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Capable of growing to as much as 200 feet tall in good sites, Tulip Tree (called Yellow Poplar in forestry) is one of the tallest and most majestic of Eastern Hardwoods.  Tulip tree ranges from Southern New England west to Michigan, Indiana and Southern Illinois, south to Louisiana and Florida.  Tulip Tree is the state tree of Indiana, and for good reason - This fast-growing tree is highly valuable for timber as well as landscape value.

Tulip Tree yields good, straight lumber with clean trunks in closed-canopy forest situations - Planted in groves about 8 feet apart and thinned properly, the trees self-prune their lower branches from a young age yielding trunks clean of branches for as much as 75 feet!  In the landscape, Tulip Tree makes a good tree for establishing forests on old abandoned pastures and cleared farmland.  Tulip Tree mixes well with Black Cherry, Red Oak, Red Maple, Sweet Birch and White Pine to form the typical second-growth forests found in the Appalachians.  Including this mix in your reforestation plantings yields good results, especially in sites that are too open and dry for canopy hardwoods like Sugar Maple, Beech and Yellow Birch.


As mentioned previously, Tulip Tree is highly valued for its lumber.  The clean, straight wood is used as an underlayment for veneers and for structural components of furniture - the Southern Appalachians are a source of good-quality Tulip Tree, and the lumber is utilized by many of the furniture manufacturing companies there.

In the landscape, Tuliptree offers both fast growth and good tree quality, two features that aren't often found simultaneously.  Tulip Tree is good for re-establishing forests on cleared land in a quick timeframe, and it makes a good shade tree for new developments where not much exists in the way of mature forest.  Tulip Tree gives shade and shelter for songbirds and small animals, and the thick leaves give excellent biomass to the landscape.

How to grow Tulip Tree

Tulip tree is very easy to grow - Once it has established, it grows very quickly.  A small 3-foot seedling can be a 15-foot tall tree within 3 growing seasons after planting!

Plant Tulip Tree in average soils in full sun for best growth.  To keep the trees growing straight, it's wise to plant in clumps of at least 3 to 5 seedlings, spaced randomly 8 to 12 feet apart.  Water well the first year, especially in droughty conditions, and they should be well established by the end of the growing season.

We grow our Tulip Tree Seedlings in 1 Quart SuperPlugs - These quart pots enable well-branched root systems, and can be planted directly in the ground.  Water well for the first year; in a moist site the tree should really take off the first growing season. We've seen 5 feet of growth in 1 year on Tulip Tree saplings at the nursery!

Common Name: Tulip Tree / Yellow Poplar
Botanical Name: Liriodendron tulipifera
USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Height: 90-150 Feet (up to 200)
Spread: 30-50 Feet
Spacing: 8-12 Feet
Flower Color: Green with Orange Tips (tulip-like)
Bloom Time: Late May - Early June
Texture: Coarse (Large Leaves)
Habit: Pyramidal tree, very straight and tall if forest grown.
Light Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade; Forest Openings
Soil Moisture: Moist to Average
Soil Texture: Loam, Clay Loam, Sandy Loam
Soil PH: Acidic to Neutral
Landscape Uses: Shade Tree, Mass Plantings, Forest Establishment
Benefits: Fast Growing, Yellow Fall Color, Widely Adaptable
Ecological Function: Nectar and Pollen, Larval Food Source, Shelter