The Q&A Archives: Reasons for Tulip Tree Leaf Curl

Question: My mother-in-law has a tulip tree, and the leaves have all curled up. What could be the problem? She only planted the tree last year, and lives a couple of towns over from me. Debbie przybylinski Rocky point, NY

Answer: A few possibilities come to mind. Tulip trees are susceptible to salt damage, so if the tree  is located near a road where salt was used during the winter, that could be the problem. In this  case, working gypsum into the surface layer of the soil will help. Fertilizing the tree can also help  suppress salt damage.    Late frosts can also kill leaves, and in this case new growth will eventually sprout. If any weed  killer has been applied to grass nearby, the chemicals could have moved through the soil and  damaged the roots, which would eventually show up in damaged leaves. In this case, your mother  could try watering heavily to try to leach the chemical from the root zone of the tree. If none of  these explanations seem to fit, take a few leaves to your nearest tree nursery or Extension Service  office (246 Griffing Avenue in Riverhead, (516) 727-7850) to see if they can diagnose the  problem.

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