True to their heritage, Emerald City® Tulip Trees are growing straight, tall and beautiful in landscapes across the continent. Introduced in 2010, this handsome, vigorous selection of our native tulip poplar is a standout among shade trees and is turning heads from coast to coast. One of the first landscape plantings is in South Carolina. Grown from Schmidt bare root liners by Northwest Shade Trees of Brooks, Oregon, they were obtained in Oregon because no large caliper trees were yet available from local growers.
Visitors to the Roger Milliken Research and Customer Center in Spartanburg are among the first to enjoy the eye-catching symmetry of the lush, dark green, upright oval canopies of Emerald City® Tulip Trees. Two-inch caliper trees were recently planted to create a cool and colorful alleé that guides visitors through the Milliken & Company Arboretum.
Planted in late 2012, The Emerald City® Tulip Trees established quickly and are growing rapidly in height and caliper. Stewart Winslow, director of horticulture for the Milliken properties, chose the new cultivar for the project. When native tulip poplars were specified for the alleé, he immediately thought of the new cultivar he had seen at the Schmidt nursery and the J. Frank Schmidt Jr. Arboretum in Oregon.
“Landscape architects with Innocenti & Webel wanted a clean look of slender trunks to take advantage of the powerful open space and vistas of the Milliken Arboretum,” Winslow explained.
“I had been watching the Emerald City® Tulip Tree during two previous year’s tours of new trees at the J. Frank Schmidt Nursery in Boring, Oregon,” he said. “The native Tulip Poplar is a great park tree, but the selection made by Keith Warren of Schmidt had caught my eye, and it seemed like the right tree for the alleé.
“I love the ‘Emerald City’s clean, deep green, glossy foliage, and the uniformity and symmetry of the canopy made it a perfect choice for the alleé.”
Winslow’s confidence in the new selection is borne out by the photos he took on August 12, less than two years after the trees were planted. Lush and dark green despite the heat and humidity of a South Carolina summer, they are well on their way to forming a leafy, lovely alleé.
Dr. Michael Dirr has been a fan of Emerald City® Tulip Tree from the day he saw it in our trial blocks almost a decade ago. After debating with Keith on whether there would be a market for a cultivar of the popular North American native tree, he encouraged Keith to bring it to the marketplace because of its unique foliage and form.
Years later, during our 2010 “Walk With Legends” arboretum tour guided by the two plantsmen, they discussed the merits of the newly introduced cultivar; as recorded in this YouTube video.
Upon seeing Emerald City® Tulip Tree growing in the Milliken alleé this summer, Dr. Dirr made these comments:
"Great men in U.S. history have cherished and planted tulip trees. At Monticello, Thomas Jefferson graced the front of his home with two tulip trees. George Washington at Mount Vernon planted many by his own hand. Two are extant and date from 1785.
“Keith Warren and Frank Schmidt continue the tradition by introducing a lustrous, dark green foliaged, uniformly branched, noble selection named Emerald City®. This wonderful American native tree now has a pedigree.
“What better tree than this to PLANT AMERICA!"