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How to Root Tulip Tree Cuttings

The tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is a fast growing deciduous tree. Tulip trees grow straight up providing shade with large smooth tulip-shaped leaves. Spring blooms produce pale yellow tulip-shaped flowers. It needs a large, sunny area with deep, fertile soil (it will tolerate almost any soil type). Once established, tulip trees are easy to care for, requiring only basic maintenance throughout the year. Take cuttings in the fall while pruning to root for spring planting.

Cut a small branch from a mature tulip tree. Cut a branch that is at least 18 inches long, 1 1/2 inch from the collar, the swollen area where the branch joins the tree trunk.

Add rooting hormone following the directions on the package to a 5-gallon bucket full of water. Place the branch into the bucket of water and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Line a 5-gallon bucket with burlap, leaving at least 8 inches hanging over the sides of the bucket. Fill the lined bucket with potting soil.

Remove the branch from the first bucket; shake gently to remove excess water and rooting hormone. Place the branch approximately 8 inches deep in the soil. Tamp the potting soil lightly around the branch, do not compact the soil.

Cut out the bottom of a milk jug with a sharp utility knife. Slide the milk jug over the branch and push it into the soil a half inch. This will help keep humidity constant while the tulip tree is cutting roots.

Set the bucket in a sunny location protected from winds and drafts. The root system should begin to develop within three to four weeks. Tulip tree cuttings will be well-rooted seedlings by spring and ready for transplanting.

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