How to Help My Tulip Poplar Tree


Trees provide shade in the landscape, while flowers enhance a setting with their attractive blossoms. Some plants display characteristics that perform both these functions. The tulip poplar tree (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) produces greenish-yellow flowers in the late spring. A member of the magnolia family, this tree bears some resemblance to true poplar trees. Tulip poplar trees thrive in the eastern United States but tolerate a variety of climate zones, from Canada through Florida. Proved your tulip tree with the necessary elements to help it flourish and grow to its mature height around 100 feet.

Step 1

Plant your tulip poplar tree in an area of your yard that provides full sunlight. These trees thrive in areas with bright light, but tolerate occasional, light shade. Avoid planting your tulip tree seedling under larger trees that may block the sunlight. The roots of larger trees can rob the soil of its nutrients, compromising the health of your tulip tree. Choose an area that provides young trees with protection from heavy, damaging winds.

Step 2

Loosen the soil in your planting site and mix equal amounts of compost and soil to form a rich, well-drained medium for your tree. This tree tolerates the pH levels of most average garden soils, ranging from 4.5 to 7.5, but requires loose textured soil to prosper. Mix your compost in thoroughly and dig a hole twice to three times as wide as the roots of your young tree. Set your tulip tree's roots in the hole and backfill with soil, keeping the planting depth the same as it was in the container. Gently press the soil over the roots of your tulip poplar to expel any air pockets.

Step 3

Water your tree regularly to help it grow. Keep the soil slightly moist at all times by applying about 3 inches of water every 5 to 7 days during periods without rain. Apply water slowly allow the roots to absorb the moisture and minimize runoff.

Step 4

Prune your tulip poplar tree to remove damaged areas of growth. These trees do not require seasonal pruning, but benefit from the occasional trimming of broken or dead branches. Use a limb saw to cut damaged limbs within a couple of inches of the main trunk.

Step 5

Apply a fertilizer to the soil around your tulip poplar tree. Select a time-release fertilizer formulated for use on deciduous trees. Lightly apply this fertilizer to the soil beneath the canopy of your tree once each year, in the spring or summer.

Step 6

Check your tree for diseases and disorders. Although tulip poplars seldom suffer from serious conditions, you can help your tree flourish by recognizing and treating any disorders. Look for spotted and misshapen leaves. Examine the leaves and limbs for signs of insects, such as fine webs, chewed leaves and hard nodes on the leaves. These signs may indicate the presence of weevils or canker disorders. Treat an infected tree with a pesticide labeled for use on large, deciduous trees. Apply the pesticide to your tulip poplar tree, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid applying excessive amounts of fertilizer to your tulip poplar tree. Too much fertilizer can damage these trees.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Water
  • Limb saw
  • Pesticide


  • United States Department of Agriculture: Tulip Poplar
  • Pennsylvania State University: Yellow Poplar
  • "Gardening with Woodland Plants", Karen Junker, 2007

Who Can Help

  • University of Alabama: Liriodendron Tulipifera
Keywords: tulip poplar tree, blooming poplar, tulip tree care

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.