How to Prune Tulip Trees

Tulip tree flower. image by Earl53/


Tulip trees are very popular hardwood trees grown for their beautiful leaves, tulip-like blossoms and fast growth. They can grow for decades and will tower at more than 150 feet in height. Other names are yellow or white poplar. Bees use the fragrant blossoms to produce a beautiful honey.

Step 1

Allow the tree to grow with a central header by not pruning the growing tip at all. It will grow quickly and if left alone will grow strong. Because the older wood is resistant to storm damage, it should not be bothered and allowed to grow.

Step 2

Prune out any young wood that is storm-damaged. Make an angled cut so the rainwater will run off the cut and not puddle. If the branch is damaged all the way back to the trunk, leave an inch or 2 of it sticking out from the tree to make sure the trunk bark is not damaged.

Step 3

Remove lower branches when the tree is a few years old only of necessary, like when it is planted along a sidewalk. Typically, tree pruning is done while the tree is in a dormant stage during late winter or early spring. The tulip tree is amazingly resistant to storm damage and insect damage, rarely needing any pruning.

Tips and Warnings

  • Larger trees should be pruned by professionals.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand Saw


  • Western North Carolina Nature Center
  • Department of Agriculture, Forest Service - Liriodendron tulipifera
Keywords: tulip tree, yellow poplar, pruning

About this Author

Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.

Photo by: Earl53/