14 year-old tulip tree

Asked July 13, 2018, 2:11 PM EDT

I have a 14 year-old tulip tree. It's branches drooping and it's trunk leaning. We had someone come take a look at it last fall. He said it's roots were constricted. He dug around the tree a little, removed new skinny roots and fertilized it. Still it doesn't look healthy. There are ants crawling on the trunk and lots tiny holes on the surface of the tree trunk. What should I do next?

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response


I would recommend, as a next step, that you contact a certified arborist and ask them to evaluate the tree, and, if appropriate, develop a care plan for it. He or she will be able explain to you any issues that they find, and what those mean to the long term health of the tree.

You can find an ISA certified arborist at treesaregood.org. Select the tab "Find an Arborist", and follow the screens. You will reach a point at which you can enter your zip code (postal code). Once you do that, the system will return a list of certified arborists in your area. Selecting a name will provide individual contact information for that individual.

Tulip trees, when fully grown, reach heights of 70 - 90 feet. That makes me concerned about the degree of lean in your tree, especially when you've been told that the roots are compromised. How the roots were damaged (mechanical injury, disease, girdling growth), might be important to how well the tree might recover. The arborist will evaluate this and also the holes in the trunk and the ants. The ants are likely carpenter ants nesting in deadwood in the tree.