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Tulip Poplars

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I just finished reading a thread where it was suggested that topics be kept general, so I will do so here.

A friend recently gave me two tulip polar seedlings that have grown up over the past year in their flower bed (i.e. they were not there at the start of Spring, 2012). They dug them up and put them in clay pots.

I have two questions. (1) The pots are not very big... I am guessing ~2.5 quart pots. Should I consider putting them in bigger pots, or even back into the ground here (I live in Central Kentucky)?
(2) If it is OK or desirable to leave them in pots until they are bigger, should I leave these seedlings outdoors, or should I move them indoors once the weather gets cold?

They were out, in the ground, during mid-30 degree F weather already this Autumn, BTW.

My only desire to leave them in a pot is that I don't yet have a place to plant one of them. I have a Black Pine stump that needs deep grinding, etc., first in order to prepare the area.

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1.) The pot does sound too small. 5 gallon buckets would have been better, but you really should try to refrain from doing too many transplants. Leaving them in the ground isn't a bad idea, as long as its the FINAL location. The advantage of growing a tree in a pot first is for easy planting in its final location later on.... rather the hacking away at roots the spread through the ground. So ideally they would have been started in 5 gallon buckets, or dug up with the seedling was extremely small. If your not going to have the stump removed until next year, I guess I would put it in a bigger pot, once all the leaves have fallen.

2.) Central Kentucky should be fine to leave them outside, just keep them in a sheltered location out of the wind. Keeping them indoors might "trick" them into thinking is spring already. Which is bad. I had a potted tree in a greenhouse one winter, it "woke up" and went dormant" 2-3 times in one winter. It died the next season. That's a lot of lost energy lost. Make sure you keep the soil moist, but not saturated. It won't really suck up any water all winter, but you still don't want anything to fully dry out.

Ideally you shouldn't transplant hardwoods until the leaves have fallen off in the fall, and the buds are fully set. The later the better, assuming the ground isn't frozen yet. If you dig up trees while they are still active, their roots are extremely vulnerable. (softwoods by the way are the opposite, you should dig them up right before they become active in the spring)
Dumas Walker
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Thanks for those tips. I do hope to have the stump ground out soon. It was supposed to have already been done, but the fellows who were to do it turned out to be grifters who were asked not to return. I honestly doubt they were capable of deep grinding anyway.

They are currently sheltered in a couple of flower beds that get morning/mid-morning Sun. The azaleas and myrtles should keep the wind away while allowing some Sun in. I figured that was a good area since it is where the naturally-planted water maple seedlings tend to do well.

Once I choose one to transplant, should I put something around the seedling to prevent any wildlife or other damage? They are awful small plants currently... a foot tall, tops.
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