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 Planting Questions

Establishing wildflowers on a slope in Virginia
August 18, 2012 - From Roanoke Virginia. I have a steep bank rising from one side of my driveway to woods above. Different areas vary from full sun, to half day shade. It is possible to carefully walk/stand on it, we a...
view the full question and answer

Problem with magnolias and yaupon in Prosper TX
May 13, 2012 - Problem with Little Gem magnolia - 3 little gems planted next to a fence, in Prosper, TX. Planted 3 years ago, 2009, one of the trees is now withering. The other 2 are doing fine, the one has leaves...
view the full question and answer

Starting shade-tolerant ground covers in New York
September 10, 2013 - Hi, I have seen some of the posts for shade-tolerant ground cover on the east end of Long Island and my question is process related. Now that I've identified the grasses/plants I need to keep my fro...
view the full question and answer

Shade trees for Spring TX
August 17, 2011 - Dear Mr.Pants, our west-facing backyard in Spring, Tx, is unbearable in this Summer's heat. Neither us nor the neighbors has any backyard trees established yet, as the subdivision is pretty new. C...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Texas Star hibiscus
July 31, 2008 - Why is my Texas star plant wilting and now is starting to turn yellow? I just bought it from a nursery and put it in a new pot.
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center