Eastern Cottonwood (Deltoides) is generally described as
a perennial tree.
native to the U.S. (United States)
has its most active growth period in the
spring and summer .
The greatest bloom is usually observed in the
with fruit and seed production starting in the
spring and continuing until
not retained year to year.
Eastern Cottonwood (Deltoides) has a
short life span relative to most other plant species and a
rapid growth rate.
At maturity, the typical
Eastern Cottonwood (Deltoides) will reach up to
190 feet high, with a maximum height at 20 years of
Eastern Cottonwood (Deltoides) is easily found in nurseries, garden stores and other plant dealers and distributors. It can be propagated by
bare root, container, cuttings, seed.
It has a
rapid ability to spread through seed production and the seedlings have
Note that cold stratification is
not required for seed germination and the plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below
medium tolerance to drought and restricted water conditions.
Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.
Timber: The wood of eastern cottonwood is light, soft, and weak. It is not durable, warps badly in drying, and is difficult to season. It is used principally for containers, interior parts of furniture, corestock in plywood, and high-grade pulp.
Erosion control: It is planted on strip mine spoils for erosion control and wood production. Male, non-hybrid adapted clones make good selections for windbreaks in multi-row installations.
Recreation: Due to its rapid growth rate, it is frequently used for providing quick shade around recreational developments, campsites and picnic areas.
Landscape and beautification: This species is occasionally planted as an ornamental shade tree, however caution should be used because the tree grows large and is susceptible to wind and ice damage.
Wildlife: Seedlings and young trees are browsed by rabbits, deer, and domestic stock. Beavers use saplings and poles for food and dam construction.
Populus deltoides Bartr. ex Marsh., eastern cottonwood, is a fast-growing tree which reaches 80 to l00 feet in height and 3 to 4 feet in diameter. It is a relatively short-lived tree, seldom surviving for more than 80 years.
The leaves are broadly triangular, ovate in outline, 3 to 5 inches long and nearly as wide. They are dark green, lustrous above, and paler and smooth beneath. The marginal teeth are somewhat hooked, being larger toward the leaf base and smaller toward the pointed tip.
Twigs are rather stout, round, and distinctly enlarged at the nodes. The conical, pointed buds are smooth, glossy, and olive-brown to reddish-brown in color. The bark of younger trees is rather smooth and greenish-gray. On older trunks it becomes ashy-gray and is roughened by long, deep, longitudinal and interconnecting furrows.
Required Growing Conditions
Cottonwood makes its best growth on moist, well-drained, fine sandy loams or silt loams. Coarse sands and heavy clay soils are not satisfactory. It has been found to be relatively tolerant of drier sites as shown by survival and growth of trees planted on strip mine spoil. Cottonwood is resistant to flood damage and usually tolerates a soil pH range of 4.5 to 8.0.
Eastern cottonwood is distributed throughout the East and Midwest.
Cultivation and Care
Natural regeneration of cottonwood is usually by seed. Propagation by cuttings is the usual method of vegetative reproduction. The best planting stock is unrooted cuttings from 1 to 3 year old seedlings. Cuttings are planted while dormant with sufficient cultivation to reduce competition.
General Upkeep and Control
If this tree is planted for intensive culture management care must be taken to reduce completion from weed and other unwanted vegetation. On wide spacing, disking between the rows can be used to control vegetation. Care must also be taken to avoid over grazing by deer and other animals. Around buildings the plant may prove to be a nuisance. The silky-haired seeds of the female plants can clog gutters and the shallow root system may interfere with sewer lines.
Pests and Potential Problems Eastern cottonwood can be seriously damaged by wood boring insects that attacks the main stem, branches and root system. Many leaf feeding insects can also reduce the growth and vigor of young trees. Leaf rust, leaf spot, and cankers reduce tree vigor and growth and in severe cases cause tree mortality.
Cultivars, Improved, and Selected Materials (and area of origin) ‘Siouxland’ cottonwood, is highly resistant to leaf rust and similar leaf attacking fungi. ‘Siouxland’ is a male plant, and therefore, does not produce the silky-haired cotton which many people consider a nuisance. Since there is no seed, the plant must be grown from cuttings.
Populus robusta, which is most likely a cross between Populus nigra and Populus angulata, is very similar to ‘Siouxland’ in appearance except that it is narrower and branches more widely. The foliage is also resistant to rust fungi. Populus robusta is a frost hardy, rapid grower. Other selections include ‘Noreaster’, ‘Mighty Mo’, ‘Platte’, ‘Ohio Red’, ‘Lydick’, ‘Schictel’, ‘Spike’(cross between Populus deltoides and Populus nigra, from the New York Plant Materials Center, original material from the Netherlands) and ‘Walker’. These selections show various levels or resistance from leaf rust and canker infestations. Rooted cuttings and seedlings of ‘Siouxland’ and Populus robusta can be purchased from many hardwood nurseries. Other selections are more difficult to obtain, but worth the effort.
Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database, plants.usda.gov.
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA