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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.

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

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Saturday - May 18, 2013

From: Red Creek, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Bark splitting in old tulip tree in Red Creek, NY.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hello, We have a tulip tree that has some bark splitting I guess I would call it. The tree is older and very tall. On the north side of it starting at the bottom of the trunk to about 8-9 feet up it, a strip of the bark only about a half inch wide has peeled away, it goes straight up the tree trunk. Have you any idea what would cause this. This tree is near the Lake Ontario shoreline and is subject to a lot of wind.

ANSWER:

The Tulip Tree Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip tree) is a very desirable shade or ornamental tree. Even though it is sometimes called Tulip Poplar it is not in the genus or family of the  other poplars (Genus Populus in the family Salicaceae). it is in the family Magnoliaceae. This link to the Forest Service has general information about the Tulip Tree.

 Having bark peel off a tree is of some concern. The Tulip Tree is relatively free of pest problems, but is susceptible to canker diseases that are described in this link to USDA.

My suggestion is to have a knowledgeable person examine your tree to determine what the problem is . This person could be someone from the Wayne County office of Cornell University Cooperative Extension,  or a certified arborist.

 

From the Image Gallery


Tulip tree
Liriodendron tulipifera

Tulip tree
Liriodendron tulipifera

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