En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
10 ratings

Wednesday - June 23, 2010

From: Orion, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Trees
Title: Cottonwood trees shedding in Orion MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How long can I plan on my cottonwood trees (wild) shedding long wide cotton strips? This is a first for my trees. Usually it is fluffy small puffs.

ANSWER:

Populus deltoides (eastern cottonwood) is native to Oakland County and its seeds have long been the bane of anyone living around it. In particular, those flying puffs of cotton are extremely allergenic. The cottonwood itself is not very popular, as it tends to drop big limbs, has large roots, and weak wood. It grows very fast, particularly in a moist area, and you can still see them coming up in creek beds in Texas. We found a website from Hortiscope Questions on Cottonwood that has all kinds of good information, including the name of a product thought to inhibit the cotton production. We were never able to find any information on how much longer the cottonwoods will be flying cotton in your area, but the above-mentioned website said that it usually lasts about 4 weeks. Depending on where the tree is growing, of course, that will be earlier or later in the Spring than now. 

We have no idea why the "cotton" is in long strips instead of little puffs. Perhaps the tree is now more mature? 

By the way, after many questions on how to stop the cotton flying, the author of the article we referenced, Ron Smith, Horticulturist for the North Dakota State University Extension Service, said the only way he knew of was to cut the tree down.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern cottonwood
Populus deltoides

Eastern cottonwood
Populus deltoides

Eastern cottonwood
Populus deltoides

Eastern cottonwood
Populus deltoides

More Trees Questions

Need small, fast growing trees for privacy screen in Buda, TX.
February 01, 2013 - Please recommend some small, but fast growing, flowering trees to plant along a western fence for privacy
view the full question and answer

Native trees for property in Washington State
September 29, 2008 - We bought a piece of property on Lake Wenatchee, Washington. It was cleared more than we would like and want to know what types of trees grow well there and can handle the snow. Should I wait until ...
view the full question and answer

Oak trees shedding leaves in Denton TX
May 27, 2012 - In Denton, TX we have two mature Quercus buckleyi. It is May 11th 2012 and one of these trees has been shedding green leaves for the last week. The only changes we have made are: planted English ivy...
view the full question and answer

Safe time to trim live oak trees
June 20, 2008 - Our live oak trees need a little trimming, as some of the branches are hanging too low, almost to the ground. We planted them about 5 years ago, so they are well established, healthy trees. My husband...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Eve's Necklace from Round Mountain TX
April 16, 2013 - We have dozens of small Eve's necklace plants coming up in our large yard. I would like to share them with my friends who aren't so lucky. Many years ago, I tried to transplant one, and it didn't...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center