Liriodendron tulipifera-Tulip Tree

Ament(5a SD)August 4, 2011

Ok, the green or black ash in my back yard was struck by lightning one yr. prior to our moving into the home. I am now ready to plant something near by to eventually replace said tree.

What are your feelings on the Tulip tree? Good and bad feelings, I'd like to hear it all. It won't be extremely close to the deck, the current tree was planted far too close in my opinion. Every time we fire up the grill, it heat scorches leaves, I hate having to lop off limbs just to protect it!

I am currently redoing my backyard with the intend of drawing butterflies in droves, that is why I also was drawn to this particular tree. :)

Thank you!

~Tina Marie

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esh_ga

In my area this is a very fast growing tree that gets straight and tall in ideal conditions. It generally does not like to retain lower limbs so eventually there are naturally no limbs above 12 feet (if not higher). In my area it drops a few early leaves at the middle of a hot, hot summer - they just turn brown and fall off. The fall color is yellow, so-so for me but I have seen spectacular pictures from elsewhere.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 6:16PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

IMO it is underplanted.

The flowers are beautiful. Sure if you have to limb it up over a two story house you won't see them as much but when left on at "mower clearance height" the flowers are very attention getting.

Fall color is decent if not a plus on some trees. I have not figured out the cultivars to recommend yet. My neighbor has a wild transplant one which has GREAT yellow fall color. Lucky.

The tree does get huge. Large trunk and all and BIG leaves means more clean up than a locust type leaf.

Did I say massive trunk yet? Lol.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 11:26PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Just as a matter of curiosity the Autumn colour on my local tulip tree (a giant planted sometime in the 1790s in a city square) is a beautiful butter yellow and is probably the best around my area. Where maples etc often don't put on much of a show in our climate the Tulip Tree always manages to perform. From its age it is probably one of the 'wild' TT's.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 5:55AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I think it's a beautiful tree and underused.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 6:07AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i have 6 or so ...

half are damaged from winds associated with strong thunderstorms .... the big blow just before the storm ... no winter issues ...

and one is horribly disfigured by some buck ... i dont get it.. why its this one tree.. just about every year for 10 years ... one would think that buck would have moved on in life by now ...

slightly surface rooted ... might not be the best if you want to garden under them in the far future .... but not bad compared to the worst, such s norway maples, willow or others of the type ...

ken

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 12:16PM
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denninmi(8a)

Seriously, would a tulip tree survive in SD? Even if temperature hardy, isn't the climate much too dry?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 3:16PM
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Ament(5a SD)

Hm, I'm not concerned about leaf litter. More the merrier really. I need it for compost! LOL The neighborhood trees here are sooo Boring! No color really. I want something that will -Pop- so the yellow will be nice.

As for limb dropping, not really much of an issue since I already deal with the dratted neighbors tree throwing things in my yard already! I might well enjoy my own tree and have a reason to bend over and pick things up right?

Winds here are predominantly from the northerly direction. Planting location would place this tree behind the house, in a southern location blocking it from major winds. :)

12ft puts the bottoms of it above the deck, which saves me from having to limb the thing but I wouldn't be planting close to the deck like this current tree is. I don't want to have to do that to another tree. Who ever planted this tree that is currently here certainly did not -think- of it's full grown size. *sigh*

As for it being too dry here, it can be dry here but certainly I wouldn't say it's that dry here. I do water my trees and I wouldn't say we're a desert here in South Dakota. :)

~Tina Marie

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 5:21PM
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arbordave (SE MI)

Like denninmi, I'd be concerned about hardiness since your location is well outside the native range of tuliptree (see link). Are there other tuliptrees growing successfully in your area? Protection from the north winds and keeping it well watered would definitely be beneficial. Tuliptrees grown from a northern seed source would be best (although your local nursery/garden center may not have this info).

The tuliptree in my yard attracts tiger swallowtail butterflies (the larvae feed on the foliage). I also had a promethea moth lay eggs on it this year.

Here is a link that might be useful: tuliptree native range

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 7:26PM
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calliope(6)

I have a plethora of them come up wild on my property. Deciduous woodlots here are usually full of them. I have always liked them, but for some reason those I've allowed to remain in the area of land we keep mowed and gardened, they've not been a long-lived, nor without problems.

The cultivated one I purshased lived perhaps ten years before it went into decline, with a canker of some sort at the soil line and always, always home to some sort of curculio. The big wild one I let stand near one of my greenhouses now is exhibiting the same issue near the soil line and you can see a gazillion yellow bellied sapsucker holes ringing around the trunk. It came up wild, I'm not going to invest time or money into it. When it presents a problem, it'll get felled I guess before it falls and takes a structure with it.

I think I am saying that although it's a lovely tree, it's not as 'without' issues as it is advertised.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 7:51PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Tuliptree in SD sounds difficult. Maybe native ones from Michigan? It does have a surprising north range from arbordave 's link.

Just an aside, the tiny bareroot mail-order tuliptree I planted in 2004 is now pushing 40ft (13m)! So this is its 8th season. It should reach 50' in only 10 seasons. And it only gets 6 hrs full sun a day.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 10:39AM
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Ament(5a SD)

Hmm, things to ponder, Thank you everyone for all the information on this tree! :) I truly do appreciate it. Any suggestions on a particular tree that would do better, draw butterflies, grow fairly fast and provide good shade for the south side of our home? Doesn't have to draw butterflies, but that certainly is a major plus for me.

~Tina Marie

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 3:39PM
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esh_ga

Oaks in general (Quercus) support more insect diversity than tuliptree by far (I do love tuliptree, don't get me wrong).

There are some oaks that are faster growing than others.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 3:50PM
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Ament(5a SD)

Thank you everyone for all the information. I will check out a few oak trees for this area. Any suggestions there? Truly I don't wish squirrels in my yard though. Heh I have a beautiful veggie garden as well as next season a butterfly garden too. I'm so not wanting to encourage those little nut grubbers! LOL

~Tina Marie

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 4:04PM
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esh_ga

Quercus macrocarpa, Quercus palustris, Quercus rubra, Quercus velutina, perhaps even Quercus coccinea if it is hardy there.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 4:38PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

'Little Volunteer' is a nice Liriodendron tulipifera cultivar if you want a medium sized vs. large tree.

Although a shrub Aesculus parviflora is a tiger swallowtail magnet.

Consider Quercus bicolor as well. Q. coccinea and Q. ellipsoidalis would be by next set of favorite no fuss oaks.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 4:51PM
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Ament(5a SD)

Hehe, gotta say, nearly freaked when I saw the words Bottlebrush in the name whaas. I had major flashbacks of those ridiculous plants out in california when I was a child...You see them all up and down the roads and highways. Huge red bottle brush shaped blooms on those miserable things. Ugh! I am sooo allergic to those!

Alright then, done with the nightmare flashbacks. Now, I've just informed hubby those 3 trees in our back yard -must- go and sooner rather than later. He will contact a pal of his who used to log for a living. Not my thing so not my problem. His/their problem if something gets knocked into a building. LoL I leave that to him. ;) I on the other hand, asked him for his preference and have been given none. So it's up to me. Yay! I guess? Not really, if he complains later? Oh well! He lost that chance, when I asked and he said... "I don't care."

I like the Swamp white oak, but I love the tulip tree. Now knowing that the tulip tree may cause issues later and the oak will live longer. I'll go with an oak. Yeah, I want more butterflies, but I'll plant an Aesculus parviflora or two, that will satisfy the butterfly wants too. :)

So I have to say thank you to everyone and thank you Esh_ga & Whaas very much for directing me to several to help me make a more informed choice.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 8:07PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

they are native in MI ???? ... i didnt know that ... and i have been here 50 years ... but who knows ... not saying you are wrong .. just surprised.. [but to lazy to look it up]

i mail ordered mine as 3 feet whips 10 years ago ... no cold z5 issues ...

they are easily 20 to 30 feet tall now ...

its the giant leaves in wind that cause the problems ...

i dont know why you cant mail order one.. and give it a go .. with the full understanding .. that you are zone inappropriate ...

check out the link.. i have never had a problem with them .... especially after i learned how to plant and maintain trees ... TIMING is everything ... try to get them delivered when the soil thaws .. and insure they are fully dormant .. etc ....

in my z5.. i would insist on 4/1 delivery ... and if the ground was not quite thawed.. it could sit the the cold garage for a week or more.. with a little moisture ...

if you go the mail order route.... new posts in march or so ... for how to do it all ...

call your county extension office if you dont know when the soil thaws ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 10:02AM
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Ament(5a SD)

Ken, what do you mean zone inappropriate? When I do a zone search, for 57718, which is my zip code. It tells me my zone is 5a. I am between two ridges within the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Tulip tree is rated for zone 3, if you mean it doesn't grow native here. I know. :/

I am going to have a few seedlings sent to me, pot them up, raise them in pots till they are larger, bring them up to the family farm which is 2 hrs from here and plant them on the farm. 7 thousand acre farm.

As for the yard here, In South Dakota, I will be planting a Bur Oak in the back yard. I am thinking about taking one of the limbs from the Linden out front, since I have to trim it up and rooting it in the back as well. 1/4th of an acre with absolutely no trees except the one that must come down. Ah well, I'll get it figured out eventually. :)

~Tina Marie

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 5:06PM
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