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Tulip Poplar Tree Diseases

Tulip poplar trees grow to heights of 150 feet or more. The tulip shaped leaves flutter in even the slightest breeze. Tulip poplar trees produce a beautiful bloom closely resembling a yellow and green tulip. This fast growing member of the magnolia family is majestic standing alone in a large grassy area. The tulip poplar is extremely hardy and seldom succumbs to any pests or diseases.

Yellow Poplar Weevil

The yellow poplar weevil is also known as the magnolia weevil. It feeds on the leaves of the tree, and the result is a scorched look to the leaves. The adult yellow poplar weevil over-winters in the tree and feeds on the new buds in the spring. Eggs are laid on the underside of the leaves so the larvae have an immediate food source upon hatching. The larvae spin a cocoon later in the season and emerge as an adult beetle. Infestation generally takes place over several weeks and should be addressed when about 10percent of the tree show signs of leaf damage. Treating at the first sign of damage may not alleviate all the beetles and larvae. Insecticides usually work to control the leaf damage caused by the yellow poplar weevil. Waiting too long for treatment allows the beetles to go into hibernation until spring, when the process starts all over again.

Nectria Canker

The yellow poplar is susceptible to is a fungus called nectria canker. This disease affects many hardwood trees, causing oval shaped legions on the infected tree. The infected area appears sunken, and left untreated will eventually resemble a target on the tree. Treating the fungus on the tulip poplar tree means cutting off the infected area as soon as it is detected. Preventative maintenance can be used by applying a fungicide during the spring.

Fusarium Canker

Small cracks in the bark of the yellow tulip poplar might be the result of a fungus known as fusarium canker. The first year of infection may show few signs except the vertical cracks oozing in the fall. By the second year, the crown of the tree may start to die back. The vertical cracks can get up to one foot long. The crack may callous over during the winter, but the fungus is still attacking the wood underneath. The best treatment is to apply a fungicide or cut the canker out of the tree.


A healthy tree is less likely to be attacked by a fungus or insect. Some types of fungus only attack trees with existing damage. Broken limbs or open wounds on the bark are perfect places for the spores of fungus to penetrate. Trees stressed from the lack of water or too much heat are more susceptible to damage. Provide plenty of water during the dry season. Keep leaves and other debris from around the tree in the fall. Add mulch for protection against the harsh elements of winter.


The tulip poplar tree grows in a variety of conditions all across North America. From the hot, humid days of Florida summers to the harsh winter conditions of New England, the tulip tree grows tall and strong. The one place the tulip poplar tree does not like is severely wet areas. Moist soil with improper drainage causes the tree to weaken by drowning the root system. As the tulip poplar looses strength, it becomes more prone to disease and pest infection. Installing a drainage system will help keep the soil more dry.

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