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

Friday - October 02, 2009

From: Cincinnati, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Transplant shock in tulip tree in Cincinnati
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I planted a tulip tree sapling (3 feet tall at the time of planting) in May of this year and it sprouted! Unfortunately, I believe the top portion (nearly 2 feet) did not make it (the sapling only sprouted new growth near the bottom and the top is gray and brittle). Should I cut the top part off? If so, when (spring or fall)? Also, how close do I cut near the new growth? Thanks!

ANSWER:

Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree) is a beautiful landscape tree which can grow to 150 ft. tall and is native to the Cincinnati area, so you made a good choice. It will be a while before it gets up to that 150 ft. and what you need to be doing now is training it to be a nice straight tree. Read this article by John Ball and Aaron Kiesz from the South Dakota Forestry Publication The Basics of Tree Pruning.  The part you should be interested in is the first part on"Training Young Trees." That segment of the article goes on to mention controlling root sprouts, again, to encourage the tree to grow up straight and strong. In your case, you are saving the root sprout because the main branch has died. We suppose the roots made the decision on which part they wanted to sustain, and the sprout won. However, from now on, you must watch for, and remove quickly, any suckers that come up. You should probably cut as near to the new growth as you can without damaging the bark on the new growth. It can certainly be done now, before the trees go semi-dormant for the Winter. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Tulip tree
Liriodendron tulipifera

Tulip tree
Liriodendron tulipifera

Tulip tree
Liriodendron tulipifera

Tulip tree
Liriodendron tulipifera

More Trees Questions

When is the best time to trim oak trees in Driftwood TX?
September 09, 2010 - When is the best time to trim oak trees?
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Tex-ash in Tucson AZ
December 02, 2011 - I planted a mature (15') Tex-Ash about a year ago. Lately more and more leaves seem to be browning and it has never filled out. I am concerned I am going to lose it if I don't get it something befor...
view the full question and answer

Smoketree not flowering in Beverly Hills CA
June 29, 2011 - Why is my Smoke tree not flowering? It is big and the leaves are beautiful but no blooms.
view the full question and answer

Member of Taxus genus native to southern Illinois from Granite City IL
July 12, 2013 - Is there a native Southern Illinois similar to Taxus baccata? I live in Granite City IL and am looking for a native plant/scrub that stays green year round about 2-3 feet tall to it helps insulate the...
view the full question and answer

Trees for privacy in NY
March 17, 2011 - I am looking for trees native to New York that I can plant in front of my backyard fence that is six feet tall that will not hide my fence or overshadow my east facing garden beds and plants underneat...
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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center