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How to Germinate Tulip Poplar Seeds

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

  • Harvest the seed fruit in the fall and winter after they change color from green to light brown and become slightly desiccated.
  • Mulch over the seeded site with an inch or two of shredded bark to provide winter protection.

Tulip Poplar

Because they can grow over 100 feet tall, tulip poplars are not suitable for very small yards. In larger gardens, tulip poplar's dense canopy provides generous shade from the hot summer sun. If you have room, planting more than one tulip poplar in a group makes an impressive display. These dwarf and compact varieties may be planted in rows for windbreaks and privacy screens. The wood is generally light off-white to yellow-brown that darkens with age outdoors. The USDA Forest Service website rates poplar alongside softwood species such as pine, fir and spruce. Many types of wildlife find tulip poplars irresistible. While the tall, pyramidal canopy of brilliant green leaves is attractive in spring and summer, tulip poplars are among the first trees to change color in the fall. The large leaves turn a dazzling yellow, which is one reason the tree is also called yellow poplar. The trees prefer acidic soil, but tolerate "sweeter" soil that is slightly alkaline.

  • Because they can grow over 100 feet tall, tulip poplars are not suitable for very small yards.
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