How Long Do Cottonwood Trees Live

Cottonwoods can grow to become colossal shade-giving trees, which are natural growers throughout North America, and cottonwoods were popular with native Indians in the USA.

You can recognize cottonwoods from a considerable distance by their trunks that are white and wide, and their massive growth.

During the summer, the cottonwood leaf offers bright green foliage that shines, and as you move well into the fall, they turn a bright yellow. The green leaves preceded on the female trees by the blooms and seeds along with the cottony substance.

Here you can learn more about these trees and what to look out for.

Cottonwood (Populus Deltoides)

What is Cottonwood?

Cottonwood (Populus Deltoides) are members of the poplar family and were of significance to Native Americans, who used every part of the tree.

Cottonwood trees come in both sexes, so that you will find male and female parts on different trees.

You may wonder what does a cottonwood tree look like. In the spring, the female cottonwood tree identification is they grow small red blooms, which are followed by masses of seeds, which have the cottony covering.

This, in itself, causes a litter issue depending on where the trees are. Males don’t produce any seeds. (Read How to Decorate a Tree Stump)

Where Do Cottonwood Trees Grow?

Cottonwood trees require locations with plenty of sun and moisture. Cottonwood trees (Populus Deltoides) like growing along sides of lakes and rivers, and in boggy areas.

These trees prefer sandy or muddy soil for good growth. However, they will tolerate nearly everything besides heavy clay. The Populus trees are hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones from 2 to 9.

The planting of cottonwood trees in landscapes close to residential areas can lead to some sever issues. The trees are disorderly, and they suffer from weak wood and structure that is prone to disease.

Because of their giant stature in maturity, they are too large for most landscapes, aside from the very largest and remote.

Cottonwood Trees

How Big Do Cottonwood Trees Get?

A cottonwood tree is the fastest growing trees in North America. Each year they can add 6 feet to their height each year.

Once they reach maturity, the tree can reach heights of over 100 feet, and some species such as the Eastern Cottonwood can grow to around 190 feet. Besides this, the size of the Eastern Cottonwood canopy can spread 75 feet at the widest part.

The size of the trunks can reach up to 6 feet in diameter.

How Deep Do Cottonwood Tree Roots Go?

Considering the tree grows so high, you can find their roots only submerge to a depth of around 4 feet on average. This causes one of the main issues with these trees when they are in residential areas.

Do Cottonwood Trees Fall Easily?

Because the roots are shallow, you can find that cottonwood trees can fall in light storms, that other kinds of trees could fend off easily.

Besides this, the wood is generally weak because of the fast growth, and it can be easily damaged by the weather or by disease.

Cottonwood trees grow messily, and branches grow at funky angles; this can take on considerable weight and break.

How Do You Know if a Cottonwood Tree is Dying?

One of the most apparent signs on cottonwood trees they may be dying is cankers. You can see these as sunken and discolored areas in the bark. Such cankers kill the bark, and the disease causes dieback.

A fungus-based disease will affect any trees suffering from stress and can stem from a late frost. You may see a resin seeping from the cankers. If you have cottonwoods anywhere around your home, prevention is better than cure.

The best approaches are to rid the trees of lawnmower wounds and drought conditions and make sure your cottonwoods have proper pruning. A combination of these can help reduce the effects of canker on your cottonwoods.

Is Cottonwood a Hardwood?

Cottonwood is a hardwood, although it is relatively soft. Much of this comes from the fact it is light in weight. You can also see this as the heartwood is tan to brownish hue to the wood; any may have faint purple streaking.

In contrast, the sapwood is a creamy white color.

Cottonwood lacks any odor or taste, and when used in making anything, it doesn’t possess any natural nail holding ability. When they harvest cottonwood, over half of the trees, go to making fruit crates and wooden boxes, or it can be made into veneers to cover low-cost furniture.

You can also find cotton trees (Populus Deltoides) are used as one of the primary woods in casket production in the United States. (Read Can You Grow Cherry Trees From Cherry Pits)

After all this, you may wonder how long do cottonwood trees live? A native tree can grow well into the range of 70 to 100 years, although they have the potential to grow well into a couple of hundred years unless they fall over or fall to disease.

How Long Do Cottonwood Trees Live

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