En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - September 02, 2009

From: North Salem, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Problems with tuliptree in North Salem IN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a tulip tree and it looks like it is dying. The limbs are starting to turn bright blue. Do I have an insect problem or is it from a lightning strike?

ANSWER:

From this USDA Plant Profile for Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree), it appears that it is native to Rush County Indiana, and should grow well there. We have to admit, a tree with bright blue branches is a new one to us. Did you have lightning strikes in your area at some point? From the the Tree Care Industry Association, here is a description of what kind of damage a lightning strike can cause to a tree. From Google, here are some pictures of damage done to trees by lightning. From Vanderbilt University, we found a website on this tree and details of its bark, leaves and twigs. There was one picture of a budding twig which had a blue cast, but how much can your tell from an online photograph?

From our Conditions Comments on this tree:

"Tulip tree is insect and disease free. It is intolerant of compacted soil and should not be placed in confined beds or planters near pavement. It grows very rapidly in deep, rich well-drained soils with uniform rainfall. Dry summer weather causes physiological problems. Tulip tree drops its foliage in response to drought and is somewhat weak-wooded."

These Conditions Comments probably give us our best clue to what is wrong with the tree. If it has been planted too close to pavement or in a confined area, it is not going to prosper.  There are, apparently, some insects which can cause damage to this tree, but since we are not entomologists, we recommend you contact the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service for Rush County.


Liriodendron tulipifera

Liriodendron tulipifera

Liriodendron tulipifera

Liriodendron tulipifera

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Red maple a casualty of Hurricane Ike in Houston
November 21, 2009 - We have a 3 year old Drummond Red Maple, between the sidewalk and the street in front of our house, that fell during Hurricane Ike. We replanted it. I recently noticed that the bark is severely cracke...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing shade tree for Corona CA
September 17, 2014 - Hi, I'm looking for a fast growing shade tree. I live in Corona CA so it will need to do well in a lot of sun, moderate winds and clay soil. Thanks so much for your suggestions.
view the full question and answer

Landscaping plant for Austin
September 01, 2011 - Great site! Have gotten lots of ideas. We're about to start construction on a fairly major landscaping project: raised beds/privacy screen. We're at the top of a hill in the Hill Country just wes...
view the full question and answer

Rock under space for Bigtooth Maple in San Antonio
May 20, 2013 - I just got a 10 gallon Bigtooth Maple in Medina TX for my home outside loop 1604 in San Antonio. I hit rock about 7 inches in when trying to plant it..I am entertaining the idea for a raised bed to le...
view the full question and answer

Shade Trees for Bullhead City, AZ
August 12, 2014 - We have a patio with 2 old (unused) fire pit cut-outs; about 4 ft wide each. The cut out is not lined with concrete or brick: just rimmed with the concrete on all sides. The center of the cut-outs i...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center