The Tulip Poplar, known botanically as liriodendron tulipifera, is a large tree grown for its height, uptight form, straight trunk, leafy canopy and unusual flowers. They thrive in nutrient-rich moist soil in full sun and will readily germinate and propagate by seed when these conditions are met. Hardy down to USDA Zone 5, Tulip Poplar seeds can be planted directly into the ground in the fall when mature seed fruits begin to fall from the canopy.
Consider and select your planting site carefully as Tulip Poplar trees grow to 100 feet in height and 80 feet in spread at maturity. Take nearby structure, utility poles and lines into account when planting seed for permanent placement.
Till up a planting location with rich moist soil to a depth of at least 12 inches to loosen and lighten the soil. Amend the soil with a 1 or 2 lbs. of aged manure and/or compost is the soil is weak.
Harvest the seed fruit in the fall and winter after they change color from green to light brown and become slightly desiccated. Plant the entire dried seed pod or crush the pod to release the winged seeds into an inch or two of soil and cover lightly. Plant multiple seeds to ensure good germination rates and thin after seedlings develop.
Water the seeds and soil deeply at planting and maintain lightly moist soil all through the fall and winter do not let the soil dry out entirely. Mark the planting location. Mulch over the seeded site with an inch or two of shredded bark to provide winter protection. Pull away the mulch from seedling shoots as they appear in the spring.