Maymont Says Goodbye to Tulip Poplar

Release Date: August 26, 2021

The loss of a historic Virginia native tree at Maymont, the Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), is one that can be felt throughout the Greater Richmond region. While the exact cause is undetermined, it is believed that the recent rain fall is to blame. The fallen tree was discovered the morning after the evening storms on August 19. The soil had become saturated and fallen rain was absorbed by the roots up the trunk to the branches and leaves.

Historic topographical maps dating to 1934 indicate that the Tulip Poplar grew on the Maymont estate during the time of the Dooleys estimating the age of the tree to be at least 150 years old. Growing on the hill, this tree has been an iconic and prominent feature of the Maymont landscape. For generations, guests have enjoyed the shade of the Tulip Poplar and it’s been the backdrop of many weddings at Maymont. Parke Richeson, executive director, said “The tree is truly a favorite of many in the community and of our staff. Its natural grace and beauty was photographed by many over the years. Its grand stature among Maymont’s Arboretum will be greatly missed.”

Typically, the amount of water retained by a tree is measured when it is alive and the cells and fibers are completely saturated. On average, any given tree can hold 50 percent its weight. With 1 gallon of water weighing 8 pounds, the tree is supporting a large amount of water weight that can stress the weakest points causing structural failure.

Peggy Singlemann, director of park operations and horticulture, said “Our staff has been working diligently to ensure the safety of our guests, immediately blocking off the area surrounding the tree and roadway.” Davey Tree Expert Company has been working with Maymont to help secure the failed sections for guest safety. Sam Lily, City of Richmond Arborist, will be visiting Maymont to assess the situation and determine the best method to remove the remaining standing section of this magnificent old tree along with the large portion on the ground.

Maymont’s Arboretum is supported by the community and it takes both municipal and professional arborists to care for the breathtaking collection. For more information about Maymont’s arboretum, please visit

# # #

Since 1975, Maymont has been maintained and operated by the nonprofit Maymont Foundation, located in Richmond, Virginia. The Foundation is committed to creating experiences that delight, educate and inspire its guests. More than $3.5 million must be raised each year through donations to keep the 100-acre estate and park open to the public.

Contact us for images, interviews and further information.

PDF version