En Espa—ol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Cottonwood trees shedding in Orion MI

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 Seeds and Seeding Questions

Controlling erosion with grasses in Dallas, TX
October 19, 2013 - After consulting with several geological engineers and the city of Dallas engineers - we know that our severe erosion problem can only be fixed by building a 35' foot high gabion wall about 150' in ...
view the full question and answer

Time for seeding wildflower seeds in Castle Rock CO
October 03, 2011 - I live in Castle Rock, CO. When is the best time to plant wildflower seed?
view the full question and answer

When to reseed wildflowers in a drought year?
October 18, 2011 - My acreage with extensive wildflowers was mowed in 2010 before annuals had seeded. Only a few returned this year. Considering the predicted lonterm drought should I postpone reseeding this fall?
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets in memorial garden in cemetery
April 11, 2008 - When is the peak time to scatter bluebonnet seeds? I have a loved one that recently died, and she requested that her body be cremated. She would like her ashes to be mixed with bluebonnet seeds and ...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Chandler's craglily from San Marcos TX
December 16, 2012 - Can you please advise me on collecting and propagating seed from Chandlerís craglily -Echeandia chandleri. I have 2 plants that came from the wildflower center. They never seem to multiply, but they d...
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