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June 29, 2016

Tulip Leaf Drop-No Cause For Alarm

Gail Ruhl, Sr. Plant Disease Diagnostician, Dept. of Botany & Plant Pathology, Purdue University

Premature yellowing and leaf drop observed on tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), also known as yellow poplar and tulip poplar. (Figures 1 and 2) are symptoms most likely related to root stress. Extended periods of hot, dry, weather in combination with various site stress factors, are likely contributing factors. An added symptom that frequently accompanies the leaf yellowing is the appearance of circular, black spots between the veins of the yellowing leaves (Figures 3 and 4). The black spots are often mistaken for a fungal leaf spot disease. Though alarming in appearance these symptoms do not usually affect long-term tree vigor or health.

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Figure 1. tulip tree leaf drop

Figure 2. Yellow and brown leaves on a tulip tree branch

Figure 3. Close-up of a tulip tree leaf showing physiological leaf spot

Figure 4. Tulip tree leaves with a laf spot