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Q: I have a tulip tree that is about 23 years old and about 50 feet tall. Starting last summer, some of the bark starting peeling off one of the branches. Now two of the branches have died and the bark is hanging off
of the branches. The tree is completely fine otherwise. The trunk and other branches are healthy. Also, the tree bloomed last a few weeks ago and it had many flowers that looked beautiful as always. Do you have any idea what this bark problem could be?
The tulip tree ( Liriodendron tulipifera) generally has very few problems other than aphids (sticky honeydew which rains down onto you) and a very wide spreading root system. I will assume there aren’t obvious entry holes on the branches or trunk which might indicate the presence of an insect.
I believe it might be environmental stresses on the root system, e.g. competing for water with other plants, combined with limited space to absorb moisture or nutrient, e.g. lawns or paved areas. A good rule of thumb is to observe the amount of growth occurring at the end of the branches plus the size and color of leaves. For any plants, regardless of age, it should be consistent from year to year not gradually declining.
Try deep watering and feeding (using a root feeding tool, e.g. “Ross Root Feeder”) or enlist a tree service company to feed your tree.