The tulip poplar tree, known botanically as liriodendron tulipifera, is a large scale deciduous tree related to the magnolia. It produces spring flowers high in the canopy that resemble a cross between a creamy white magnolia and a yellow-orange tulip. They are prized for their height of up to 100 feet or more and the long, elegant and straight trunk and low maintenance requirements. Poplar wood is widely used in woodworking due to the light weight, speedy growth and straight qualities of the lumber. It is hardy in USDA Zones 4 through 8 and thrives in nutrient rich moist soil and is highly intolerant of drought conditions.
Water regularly and deeply to maintain evenly moist to wet soil and do not let the tree feel drought stress by allowing the soil to dry. When reaching 6-inches down in the soil it should always feel moist. Depending on climate and season, watering once per week to every three weeks may be needed to supplement natural rainfall.
Amend soil at planting or top dress the surrounding soil each year with several pounds each of good quality compost and well aged manure to enrich the soil. Level the topdressing with a rake and water over to fix in place.
Feed the tree once per year with a slow release granular fertilizer in a complete and balanced formulation such as a 10-10-10 or 8-8-8. Apply over moist soil or mulch and water in well after application.
Mulch around the base of the tree with a 2 to 3 inch thick blanket of organic material such as compost, leaf mold or shredded bark in the fall. Mulch will help insulate the roots against temperature fluctuations and hold vital moisture in the soil. Replenish the mulch each year after applying the soil topdressing.