Tulip Tree Seedling*


Our backyard tulip tree sprouted an offspring, around 5 metres away from the parent trunk. Our yard is too small to accommodate a second adult tree so we’d like to find a new home for the baby. We can’t think of anyone in our friend/family network, so wondering if you might have any suggestions. Also, we don’t know when it would be sturdy enough to dig up nor how go about transplanting. It’s 2 years old now, stands ~12″ tall, trunk is~1/4″ thick. We would appreciate your guidance.


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.

How generous of you to offer your Tulip Tree seedling (Lireodendron tulipifera). My first thought is the Toronto Bonsai Society https://torontobonsai.org/ or your local garden or horticultural society.

Tulip trees are generally easily propagated by seed and by stem cuttings, and your seedling may have generated from a seed. These seeds require a cold treatment which it would have received over the winter in your garden.

Regarding the transplanting process, since it is two years old and sturdy, it should be suitable to dig up for gifting. The best time to transplant a deciduous tree is in the early spring before the leaves emerge or in the late summer. If possible, dig up the tree just prior to moving it to its new home. When digging up the sapling, make sure that the soil is moist and that you dig a wide ring around the tree to ensure that none of the roots are damaged by your shovel.  Dig deep enough to include as much of the root system as possible when you lift the sapling.  Put the sapling in a pot large enough to accommodate the entire root ball or secure burlap or a piece of tarp around the roots and move it to its new home.  We wish the recipient as much pleasure from your gift as you have from the parent tree.

This link provides more detailed information on transplanting a tulip tree. https://www.purdue.edu/fnr/extension/question-when-can-we-transplant-our-tulip-tree/#:~:text=Answer%3A%20Early%20spring%20(before%20leaves,August%20to%20mid%2DSeptember).