Tulip Poplar Habitat


The tulip poplar is also known as the tuliptree, the American tulip and the yellow poplar. This large deciduous tree adapts to most habitats, with the exception of desert climates. The tulip poplar is the state tree of Kentucky, and it is native to the eastern United States. It can be identified by its yellow, tulip-like, late-spring blossoms, which are 2 inches in diameter, as well as its bright yellow fall foliage. The tulip poplar is a member of the magnolia family.


This deciduous tree requires soil that is loose, moist/not wet and well drained. The pH of the soil can range from 4.5 to 7.5. The tulip poplar will tolerate a variety of soils such as clay, loam and sand. It does well when planted in a site that receives full sun, and will not tolerate drought conditions (leaves will shed prematurely). The tulip poplar is hardy in zones 5 through 9A, and can be found growing in eastern and southeastern areas of the United States.

Tree Characteristics

A mature tulip poplar can reach a height of 60 to 80 feet, and a spread of approximately 30 to 50 feet. The crown of the tree is oval in shape. The trunk of a mature poplar is large, and the bark is furrowed; the growth rate is moderate. Leaves of the tulip poplar are 4 to 8 inches in length, and green in color. Blossoms are pleasantly fragrant, and the elongated fruit is 1 to 3 inches long. The fruit is rather inconspicuous, though it does attract birds, and it can be rather messy.

Tulip Poplar Aphids

Aphids that attack the tulip poplar are green in color, and they feed on the underside of the leaves. Aphids are quite common and attack a number of trees and plants. (In fact, there are over 350 species of aphids.) The species of aphid that attacks the tulip poplar multiplies quickly, so an infestation should be controlled as soon as possible.

Aphid Destruction

Symptoms of the presence of aphids are leaf distortion on new growth, deposits of honeydew and sooty mold. An aphid is a sap-sucking insect. When aphids suck the sap from the leaves of the tree, it causes the leaves to curl up, wilt and die. Honeydew is the waste material of the aphid. In a severe infestation of aphids, the honeydew can cover leaves, branches, walkways and patios. It is a sticky substance and can be more of a problem and inconvenience than the aphids themselves. This sticky substance attracts other insects such as ants, yellow jackets, flies, as well as bees. Sooty mold is a mold that grows on the honeydew, making the tree even more unsightly.

How to Control Tulip Poplar Tree Aphids

The tulip poplar tree aphid does have natural enemies: lady bugs, parasitic wasps, and lacewing larvae. In most infestations of aphids, the natural enemies handle the problem. If you have a severe infestation, you will need to apply an insecticide.

Keywords: tulip poplar habitat, deciduous tree flowering, hardy zones drought

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.