Tulip poplar trees, also know as yellow-poplar, white-poplar and tuliptree, are long-lived eastern hardwoods. Their bright green leaves look like tulips and turn yellow in the fall. They are considered a good shade tree, are a good source of food for wildlife and have commercial value as a source of wood. They grow well in U.S. planting zones 4 to 9. One of the reasons they live so long (up to 300 years) is because there are relatively few diseases that permanently affect them.
The Tuliptree Scale
The tuliptree scale sucks the tree's sap and is especially harmful to saplings. Even in mature trees, the scales are a nuisance. They secrete a sticky, sugary substance that attracts ants and wasps, which can exacerbate the scale damage with the harm they themselves do. Additionally, this sugary mix generally leads to mold growth that can damage the tuliptree's leaves and twigs.
The yellow-poplar weevil feeds on the buds and leaves of the tuliptree, destroying its foliage. Because the weevil overwinters to return and feed in the spring, the damage to emerging leaves can be significant. In addition to the aesthetic ramifications of a defoliated tree, the weevil, left untreated, can cause long-term damage and affect the survivability of the tree itself.
Root Collar Borer
Because the root collar borer works at the base of the tree trunk, it can often go undetected. Symptoms of an infected tree include a yellowing of its foliage and a thinning of the tree's crown. While serious infestation can affect the tree's overall health, it is more a concern to the wood product for which the tree is prized because it can leave trunks damaged with the signs of the borer's presence.