Staff Spotlight: Meet Alexis and Learn About the Tulip Tree wallacegardencenter

Staff Spotlight: Meet Alexis and Learn About the Tulip Tree

We’re shining the spotlight on our amazing employees! In our first staff feature, meet Alexis, and her favorite tree!

Meet Our Staff! Alexis C.

Staff worker at Wallace's garden center Alexis

Alexis grew up in rural Illinois near Starved Rock State Park. She spent her summers with her grandfather in the garden picking vegetables and small fruits such as tomatoes, raspberries, green beans, and zucchini. Since then, Alexis has fostered a passion for gardening, nature, and the environment. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Film and Environmental Science in 2011 from Columbia College Chicago. In 2014, Alexis spent a month exploring (working and living) in Ireland. She stayed with a family near Cork and helped maintain their garden.

From 2015-2017, she and her sister created and managed a small, sustainable vegetable, fruit, and herb farm. They sold their produce at several farmer’s markets and also through a CSA share. Today, she’s sharing her passion for tulip trees with us. They bring her a sense of nostalgia. Growing up, her family had one in their backyard. She loves the broad and uniquely shaped leaves. Curious to learn more about tulip trees? Read on for some fast facts! It’s easy to see why this is her favorite! We have a few new apple varieties in stock, and we can’t wait to share them with you! These apple trees are dwarf varieties, growing between 8 and 10 feet tall and about 8 feet wide. They also ripen at the same time, which is in mid-September—the perfect time to venture out with the family to pick them. Read on to learn about our new favorite apple varieties!

How to Identify a Tulip Tree

Tulip trees are also known as whitewood, fiddle trees, and often (incorrectly) called yellow poplar (it is not from the poplar family). They are fast-growing and can reach astonishing heights. Tulip trees bloom in June with green, yellow, or white tulip-shaped flowers that are irresistible to pollinators. In winter, you can see dark red buds preparing to unfurl once spring arrives.

Where Do Tulip Trees Grow Best?

Tulip trees are native to the Eastern United States and Canada. They love full sun conditions and grow best in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil—but they can tolerate quite a vast range of conditions. While they can tolerate partial shade, without enough sun, they can become weak and thin.

tulip tree bloom with bee on it

How Long Does it Take for a Tulip Tree to Grow?

Tulip trees can grow at amazing speeds, but they do slow down to a moderate growth rate as they become established. How long it takes to grow fully depends on what stage of life you plant the tree, its location and specific environment. Young tulip trees have a faster growth rate, over 25 inches per year! As the tree matures, that will slow down to a medium rate, between 13-24 inches per year.

Tulip Tree Care Tips

There are a few more quick tips to keep in mind when growing tulip trees.
  • Stake young plants. Staking young tulip trees will help them grow straight and strong.
  • Prune. While the tree is growing, it may produce some smaller, lower branches. It’s best to trim those back. They are likely weak and may create dangerous situations for anyone walking under them. Prune in late winter or early spring for best results. Overall, you will want to do a general pruning every few years to snip off anything that is weak or damaged, but this tree will create a beautiful, natural shape on its own, without pruning.
  • Watch out for pests. As with all trees and plants, be sure to watch for pests. Tulip trees can be prone to canker disease, so be on the lookout and apply fungicide if needed.

mature tulip tree We’d love to hear about your favorite trees, shrubs, and flowers. If you’d like to learn more about tulip trees in Bettendorf, come visit us. You’ll get to learn more about trees, and you can meet more of our friendly staff!
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