Pruning Tulip Tree

Pruning Tulip Tree

Tulip trees, or Liriodendron tulipifera, can grow up to 37m high and get their name from the wonderful display of spring blooms that resemble the flower, every summer.

These deciduous trees have lobed leaves, which turn yellow in the autumn and despite not being related to tulips, feature green and orange tulip-shaped flowers. When in full bloom these measure around 4cm in length.

They require lime-free and moist but well-drained soil. It starts as a pyramid shape but will mature into an arching dome as long. These trees need plenty of space due to the fact that they become very tall and branch out up to 12m.

Pruning tulip tree

These are low maintenance trees that grow in sun or partial shade and are generally disease and pest free. However, they do require pruning to keep them looking their best.

When to prune tulip trees

Your tulip tree can be pruned in April and June.

How to prune tulip trees

Pruning in April

The tree can be tidied up in April, cutting any broken or frost-damaged branches back to the live wood.

Pruning in June

If some of the branches of the tulip tree have become too long, these can be tackled in the summer. June is an ideal month for this. Extra care should be taken with thicker branches in order to prevent tearing.

First make a deep cut on the underside of the branch, keeping a distance of at least 10 cm from the trunk, then saw through from above. Once the branch has been removed, the stump can be shortened, although the branch collar should be left intact. The branch collar can be recognised by the markings on the bark.

If the crown becomes too heavy you may decide to thin it out. This, too, is a job for the summer. The purpose of thinning out is to remove any dead wood from the crown so that the branches that bear leaves have more room to develop. The same sawing technique described above should be used.