Yellow Poplar/Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

Yellow Poplar/Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

The yellow poplar tree - Liriodendron tulipifera - may not be one of the most long-lasting or sturdy trees in the forest. However, it has the advantage of fast growth and rapid replacement of fallen individual trees, making it omnipresent in North America’s woods.

Found all throughout the East Coast of North America, from Canada to the southern borders of the US, the yellow poplar is valued for its timber, as well as its nectar, making remarkable honey when foraged by bees. It’s also one of North Carolina’s tallest trees.

The "Tulip Tree"

Also named the “tulip tree”, yellow poplar gets its nickname from the shape of its flowers. These resemble tulips by having large, bowl-shaped petals of a greenish-yellow hue.

A distinct feature of the poplar tree is its tall trunk that bears no branches until high up. This makes them excellent trees for canoe building and other woodworks. The canopy is made of four-lobed leaves that also bear a slight resemblance to the tulip flower.

This tall tree can grow up to an impressive 120 feet height and it has a fast growth rate. It only takes about 50 years for the yellow poplar tree to reach its maximum height.

Caring for a Yellow Poplar Tree

Yellow poplars prefer deep, rich soil that is always moist. The drainage of the soil must be very good, so mulching is highly recommended.

Make sure the tree will get enough space as it grows: it can spread horizontally up to 40 feet.

Its roots don’t extend far from the plant, so the soil must allow vertical growth and be well-worked for the tree to be stable.

Controlling pests, pruning and fertilizing are part of the care poplar trees need. Once you have grown a healthy yellow poplar tree, you will surely enjoy its foliage, shade and lovely flowers.


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