Tulip tree mysterious growth

Last spring  (2020) the state DNR offered free tree saplings. We got some, including Tulip poplars.  The Tulip tree is the State tree of Indiana. We planted three, and they have done very well, and have grown from sapling size to about 4 feet tall.

May 28, 2020

September 6, 2021









I’ve noticed some interesting growth on the trees. On the trunks are single individual leaflets. They are close together, one on top of the other and on opposite sides of the trunk. I have never seen anything like this. Any foresters out there that can explain if this growth is normal in Tulip tree growth?

Never seen growth like this…

Tulip trees were plentiful in the hardwood forests of the Midwest prior to European settlement. The trees were harvested for railroad ties and fenceposts, so state some historical records. George Washington planted Tulip trees on his Mt. Vernon estate. Growing to 90 feet in height with large diameter trunks, the poplar trees provided excellent quality lumber. They do flower when mature, but the flowers are in the tops of the trees so are hard to see.

17 thoughts on “Tulip tree mysterious growth

  1. Never had Tulip Poplars until we moved to our current house in 2010, and they’re all over place. Magnificent trees, but unfortunately we’ve had to cut some down to potential hazard and older trees dropping limbs. (One year a very big oak toppled in storm; luckily it fell away from the house.) All these trees were probably 50-70 years old. I reckon your “babies” have a way to go!


  2. That growth is setting up the spurs for later years where branches may come in. They increase the rate of water uptake, too, apparently.
    It’s a bit like a baby stage that helps them get more nutrients so it can set itself up in the forest/jungle faster than the other trees. Something to do with long term ecological and evolutionary tactics.
    However, I’m not a [whatever you call a professional in the field], just a person who used to grow a few trees.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love Tulip Poplars. I had a nice one beside of my driveway, but it didn’t last long. It grew quickly, but also died quickly. Not sure what happened to it. It needs to be cut down, as do some other trees I have that would be hazardous to my house if they fell. One of the things on my to-do list is to hire a professional. Someday, hopefully before it is too late.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Tulip tree mysterious growth — Roadtirement – Blossom Flowers

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