Were tulip trees planted in the Baltimore area years ago for ship masts? #264160 - Ask Extension

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Were tulip trees planted in the Baltimore area years ago for ship masts? #264160

Asked July 22, 2015, 9:09 PM EDT

I walked in a park today in the Randallstown area and almost all of the trees I saw were tulip poplars. Did ship builders ever plant groves of tulip poplars in the Baltimore area to harvest to make ship masts? Thanks!
By the way, the photo of a tulip poplar on this site has a split trunk and much more lower branching than the tulip poplars I saw in the park today.  Is it really a tulip poplar?  https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/expert-plant-picks-tulip-poplar

Baltimore County Maryland

Expert Response

We have no information about the use of tulip poplars as ship masts.  http://www.sierrapotomac.org/W_Needham/TulipPoplar_070514.htm
The tree in the photo was in a park and it was labeled as tulip poplar.  Any tree can develop a split trunk if the conditions are suitable.   The amount of lower branching also is variable with different growing conditions.  If a tree is in the woods and there is competition for light there will be fewer lower branches.  If it is by itself in full sun, the lower branches can remain on the tree.  vw

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