Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Why doesn't my Possum Haw have berries this year?
May 20, 2010 - A possumhaw holly has no berries as of mid-May. I planted this possumhaw last summer - it had lots of berries. Why would it have no berries this year? This spring I have two yaupons with lots of b...
view the full question and answer

Small tree for container near pool in Houston
June 24, 2010 - Can you recommend a small tree that I can grow in a pot for shade? Looking for minimal mess because it will be near the pool. How big should the pot be?
view the full question and answer

Male pollinator to produce berries on Juniperus virginiana from Amston CT
November 08, 2012 - We have planted 3 juniperus virginiana 'Glauca' (on our Connecticut property) that have a few blue berries on them. Will they need a male pollinator to make berries? We do not have other juniperus...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Desert willows in El Paso, TX
August 27, 2009 - We have some volunteer Desert Willows growing on an empty lot nearby. Can we dig them up and transplant them in the yard? If so, how? They are about 3-4 feet tall
view the full question and answer

Will lilacs survive in Houston?
October 26, 2009 - My wife loves the smell of Lilacs (we're originally from Oregon), but we don't see any here in Houston. Is it possible to get lilacs to survive in Southeast Texas?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.