How to Fertilize Tulip Trees
Tulip trees require little extra work when it comes to fertilizing; one application in autumn is often enough, but you can boost growth by another spring application if you wish. Picking out the fertilizer is the most time-consuming part of the whole process. Once you have the fertilizer, this is a quick job with a big reward: a beautiful, healthy, bloom-covered tulip tree.
Decide what kind of fertilizer you wish to use: A complete granular fertilizer provides a balance of the three main essential nutrients plants need (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) but is generally not organic and can cause chemical runoff into the surrounding area. An organic fertilizer, such as bonemeal, bloodmeal or fish emulsion, generally has a concentrated amount of one of the main essential nutrients and a lesser amount of the other two, but they also can improve soil structure. A slow-release fertilizer spike or Osmocote fertilizer releases nutrients slowly into the soil in the same balance as a complete granular but over a period of months rather than weeks.
Wait until flowering has ceased in autumn, then rake back any mulch around the base of the tulip tree so that the fertilizer will reach the soil.
Apply the fertilizer to the soil around the base of the tulip tree. Follow the package directions to determine the amount to apply.
Water the tree thoroughly.
Rake the mulch back around the base of the tree.
Wait until spring. If growth and flowering are slow, apply another dose of fertilizer to promote leaf growth and blooming.
Fertilize Japanese Tulip Trees With?
Many homeowners who grow Japanese tulip trees appreciate the trees' low-maintenance nature. In general, they require little or no fertilization. Japanese tulip trees that need fertilization, however, have leaves that are pale and fewer than 6 inches long. Magnolias prefer acidic soil and should be treated with a fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants. Some of the most commonly recommended fertilizers for acidic soil include cotton seed meal and aluminum sulphate. Japanese tulip trees need soil that drains well. Organic matter amendments to heavy, clay soil improves the soil's ability to drain. When planting a Japanese tulip tree, mix its soil with heavy amendments of organic matter. Magnolias such as Japanese tulip trees need a micronutrient treatment such as magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts). Sprinkle 1 pound of Epsom salts to the soil beneath a tree for every 10 feet a tree's crown extends. Fresh manure also should not be added to or spread on the trees' soil either because it is too hot and will burn the trees' roots. Use only well-composted manure if you decide to use manure beneath the trees.
- Gardening for Dummies; Mike MacCasky and Bill Marken; 1999
- Auburn University Horticulture Department: Plant Identification Resource -- Magnolia X Soulangeana
- Texas A&M University: East Texas Gardening -- Magnolias
- Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service: Fertilizing Shade and Ornamental Trees and Shrubs; David Hillock and Mike Schnelle
- Ohio State University Extension: Some Like it Hot; Stephen Jones