How to Care for a Tulip Tree


The tulip tree is known as Liriodendron tulipifera scientifically and commonly as yellow poplar, tulip poplar and tulip magnolia. The tulip tree is a member of the magnolia family and is a very large tree, growing to 100 feet tall and 40 feet wide in the wild--slightly smaller in landscapes. Because of it size, this tree makes for a wonderful shade tree in the landscape. The leaves and flowers are tulip shaped and the flowers have a mild fragrance. This is not a high-maintenance tree.

Step 1

Water the tree thoroughly to saturate roots after planting and keep the soil evenly moist for two months. Water for long periods afterward, once a week unless it's very dry or hot, at which time give the tree extra water.

Step 2

Top dress with 1 inch of a 50/50 mixture of organic compost and well-rotted manure in the spring and late summer. Water well to leech it into the soil.

Step 3

Apply an acidic fertilizer once a year in early spring. Follow manufacturer's directions on amount to apply. Apply a balanced fertilizer if the soil already is acidic.

Step 4

Mulch the tree with shredded bark 3 inches thick. Replenish the mulch each spring.

Step 5

Cut off dead and disease branches.

Tips and Warnings

  • The tulip tree is not very drought tolerant, so don't let the roots dry out.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Well-rotted manure
  • Acidic fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • U.S. Dept. of Agriculture: Liriodendron tulipifera Tuliptree
  • Ohio State University: Liriodendron tulipifera
  • University of Connecticut: Liriodendron tulipifera
Keywords: growing tulip trees, Liriodendron tulipifera care, large flowering trees

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.