Growing and stump sprouting tulip poplar, tulip tree, yellow poplar


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This fall I'm considering dispersing a bunch of tulip poplar seeds in a stretch I want to screen. I know they grow fast and I know they start shedding limbs as they get taller, but what about coppicing them once they get a few years old? What size do they need to be before cutting and allowing to stump sprout?
Ben, I think what you are talking about can be done, but based on my experience with YP trees, I think it would be quite a bit of work to maintain. Another issue is that most of the leaves will end up too high for screening down where you want them, and the leaves are some of the first to fall at the end of the growing season. Once the leaves fall, you will not be left with much stem count down low like you would want for a screen.

YP is a species that has low shade tolerance, and that's why they tend to grow straight up and reach for the sky. This kind of goes against them for screening. You can get a small bushy effect initially, but before long they are trying to grow as vertically as they possibly can.

I have a lot of experience cutting YP in my oak planting - to keep them from shading out my oaks. At first, I was just whacking them off and not stump treating. However, in one or two growing seasons, they would be as tall as they were when I cut them. After that I started using straight Gly on the stumps.

Since you are planting seed, why not plant seed of a good screening shrub that deer don't like to browse very much? An example would be Witch Hazel. They will get 12 feet tall and even after they shed leaves, you have a nice bushy screen. You never have to come back and do anything to maintain them - except of course for not letting tall trees grow up around them that would eventually shade them out.

Another option would be to dig up some small cedars and transplant. I've done that before too, and they live very well as long as they get sufficient sunlight. A chest high cedar will be providing great screening in 4 years on my land.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
Thanks Steve. I need a screen that is about 20ft tall as fast as I can. That's why I was think tulip poplar and maybe some maples mixed in. It's a tough situation because I want the food right there, but people are starting to notice the bucks coming out there in the corn, and one is pushing 150. It's my best place to put food, so I don't really want to give that up. I should have planted something there as soon as I bought the place. That pic is a little deceiving. The corn is short, so it makes the trees in the middle of the pic look taller than they are.

Since you need so much height, it sounds like your original plan might be good after all. I would put in multiple rows to increase the screening effect up high.

Having soft maples coming on right behind the poplars would be good too. They would eventually grow even wider and thicker.

Good luck.
Our deer hammer poplar stump sprouts but like native mentioned, they quickly grow out of reach. You could easily manage a small group but several acres would be a challenge.


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To me, no tree is more beautiful than a white pine, and the screening they make is awesome. I loved the looks of them so much that I planted several years ago. However, I quickly found out that they were not without problems on my place:

* First, if you plant the small ones like the state nursery sells and don't protect them, the deer will eat them to the ground. I was able to get around this a little by making a hole in a briery place and keeping the top open enough for the tree to grow. The briers would sometimes provide a degree of protection for a while, but you had to be sure and keep the top above the tree open.

* Second, once they get like 5 feet tall, the bucks on my place started targeting them for rubbing. They were like magnets and seemed to be preferred over any other tree. It's just not realistic to try to cage them due to how wide they get at the bottom, and it's not just the small ones that they hit. I've had several to make it to 6 inches DBH (and probably 12 feet wide at the bottom) only to get hit hard by a buck.

* Third, for some reason I have been seeing mature white pines dying at a lot of different places in the state when I am traveling. I probably have about 75 on my place that made it, but I have two or three to just up and die each year. I'm talking about trees that are now 20 to 40 feet tall. In researching this, I found the following link put out by the University of KY. It goes into some detail about three different diseases that kill the trees.

I have come to the realization that for me, thick shrubs are my best solution for screening. However, that won't work for Ben, because of the height he needs. Norway Spruce doesn't seem to be bothered by diseases (yet), but they are slower growing than white pines, and deer will rub them too.