Thread: Tulip Tree

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Bloomington, Illinois

    Tulip Tree

    I have a 5 foot tall young tulip tree planted last year, it has several young foot tall sprouts coming up around it. Something ate the bark all the way off in two spots one is about 1/2 inch wide by 3 inches long the other about half that. Will this likely repair itself, could I cut it down and use one of the sprouts as a new tree, or should I just plant a new one? Thanks.

  2. #2

    RE: Tulip Tree

    If the lost bark is just a stripe that doesn't go all the way around the tree (or even most of it), it will probably scar over and be alright. If it "girdled" the tree, then it may well die.

    Don't cut it down--give it a chance to heal. If the main tree is still thriving in a month or so, I'd go ahead and cut those suckers--the sprouts that are coming up around it. If it looks like the tree will survive, the young ones will just compete with it and limit its growth. If it looks like the crown is dying back (i.e., the area above the damaged bark isn't thriving), you might try snipping off the trunk just _below_ the damaged region. Just cut the tree off. It may well send out a new shoot from the cut. If that happens, likewise, get rid of the suckers. Tuliptrees are really resilient.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Central Oklahoma - Zone 7 for now

    RE: Tulip Tree

    Did the cambium get damaged? That's more the point here, IMO. Girdling involves damaging/removing the cambium (pipeline-like functions destroyed, per se) around the entire circumference of the tree. That kills off all growth above the cut, unless you are able to cover with dirt if low enough and hope to get rerooting, etc.

    And I would cut off all but one sucker so as to make the tree send more of the 'energy/fluids' up to the top of tree and not focus on the new growth almost exclusively. I might even snip the tip of the remaining sucker so it stops extending. Its still there, just in case, but not acting as a primary growth 'tip' in so many words. Keep focus of 'energy' on the canopy itself and the fluids moving through the hopefully still functional cambium of the wounded areas. (assuming you understand what/where cambium is, OK?)

    Are the damaged bark areas anywhere close to the ground? Or are they further up on trunk? It may be feasible to put some 'dressing' on the bare spots to help the cambium stay fuctional. Others may know a product to suggest - I do not know any myself, but there are over-the-counter type stuffs that can really aid in 'protection' while the wounds scarify.

    FWIW, I have intentionally 'girdled' small trees (in pots ->bonsai-stuff) to develop a better nebari and it takes extra effort, above and beyond just removing bark, to make sure the cambium is removed. Oftentimes, a small wire is tightly wound into a groove dug into and around circumf of the cut area to insure that *all* fluids are cut-off to upper-parts. Cover with dirt (cambium removed barely above soil-line, fwiw) and hope/pray that new roots develop. Usually do, and then get good radial symmetry of roots. I tell you this as killing off cambium is not really easy - it must be 'scraped' or such. Removing bark alone without digging into the cambium-layer generally is not going to effectively girdle the tree or injure to point of death.

    But experiences vary as to how *your* bark was removed Almost sounds like a lawnmower's wheel hit it or such, LOL (??) Or could the tree be swinging/swaying against something nearby? Maybe another tree close to it? Need to make sure to figure out *why* the bark is missing if you can and that it is not a 'mechanical' issue of trunk scraping against things in 'wild winds', etc. Think you follow my thoughts here I've seen bark-issues from 'whips', tall trees that bend way down to ground in sufficient wind, and the bark 'cracks & crinkles' from all the stretching it takes from that kind of movement. Maybe your tree needs a tiny bit of 'staking' to keep it from moving so *much* until it hardens up a little more?? Just thinking out loud here as you didn't offer much 'clue' to why there's a bark issue (if you have any ideas, that is -> feces occurs, huh? haha) Then again, might be an animal of some sort chewing - dogs? Deer?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Bloomington, Illinois

    RE: Tulip Tree

    Thanks I have taken the advice to the best of my ability. I may stake it soon loosely, I dont really like staking trees. The bark was taken off about a foot off the ground and goes about 80% around it. The nearest tree to it is a hundred plus year old tulip tree some 80-100 feet away (this tree is to replace the other as it was struck by lightning in the 1950s and is starting to die) and it was too high for a mower so my guess is rabit or something. Anyway I put a field tile around it to give it some protection, Ill just bust the tile when it gets bigger. I have cut back all but one sucker and am going to wait and see what developes. Thanks for all the help.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007

    RE: Tulip Tree

    Maybe it was a rabbit, and he may do it again. When my Bartlett pear tree was young and had a small trunk, my puppy gnawed it all up, almost all the way around! I thought it was going to die. I put some tree heal stuff, I forgot what now, on it and wrapped in gauze like an injured human. Then I got some thin wiring and made a personal little fence around it so the puppy couldn't get to it. It worked, it healed, and has put out many pears over the years! Put some kind of chickenwire or thin metal fencing like I got around it to keep the critters and lawnmowers away until it's big enough not to be damaged so easily.

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