Ask a Question forum: Managing branches on Tulip Tree

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doismarks
May 14, 2017 12:56 AM CST
Hello,

We've inherited a beautiful American Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera). The previous owners allowed the lower branches to grow out to be extremely long. They grow out about 5-6 meters and have to be supported to stop them resting on the ground.

Does anyone know if this is good for the tree or have any more information on the care of this tree?
Thank you in advance.

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Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
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JuneOntario
May 14, 2017 7:23 AM CST
Hi @doismarks
Do all the branches on your tree bend downwards? Perhaps you have a weeping form of the tulip tree! If you want to get rid of the thin lower branches, I would suggest amputating them all the way back to the trunk, so that you don't leave a stump that will sprout even more spindly growth and bend down again.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 14, 2017 7:42 AM CST
If you want to remove those lower branches, make sure not to make the cut flush with the trunk but leave the "branch collar" so that it will heal properly. If you're not familiar with pruning a tree, this diagram shows the method of doing it. The first cut is upwards a short distance from where the final cut will be. This upward cut stops the branch from pulling a strip off when you make the second cut that removes the branch and it falls (the second cut goes right through the branch to remove it). Once the weight of the branch is removed you can then make the final cut a little out from the trunk leaving the collar:

https://www.google.ca/search?q...:

doismarks
May 15, 2017 1:17 AM CST
Thank you JuneOntario and Sooby for your responses.

Yes, the branches bend downwards.

I'm not particularly wanting to removing the lower branches. They look spectacular. But, since the previous owners have supported all the lower branches with posts, I wondered whether removing them might be better for the tree?
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
May 15, 2017 8:08 AM CST
Since they're resting on the ground when they're not supported, my guess is that the previous occupants lifted them with the supports so that they could mow the grass beneath them. The branches are supported either way so I think it comes more down to what is better for you, because it probably doesn't make that much difference to the tree. Perhaps the branches would get somewhat more support resting on the ground than on somewhat precarious sticks. For ease of mowing those branches would probably be better removed.

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