Cottonwood Season

Summer “snow” is falling. Our patio and drive look as if snow fell overnight. The winds are blowing it here and there. Bob will have a mess to clean up. Our best hope is rain to eliminate the accumulation on the ground and dirt areas of our property. That should rule out the possibility of blowing it around any more with a leaf blower.
The source of this blight on our landscape in June or July? A stand of cottonwood trees nearby. We have seen less of their detritus in the last few years. We thought perhaps our neighbors had cut them down. From this year’s evidence, that is not the case.
Outside Longview, WA, there is a lovely cottonwood tree farm along the banks of the Cowlitz River. Lovely is the best descriptor when the trees aren’t blooming. And these are far enough from home not to bother us.
If you’re not aware of what summer “snow” looks like, here’s a sample for you. This shows the seeds inside the “cotton.” As you think of that blowing hither and yon, also think of all the new trees that will be growing.
Cottonwood seeds
Attribution: EarthSky

At least with the cool temps we’re having, the cottonwood “snowfall” fits in with the rest of the weather.


Featured image attribution: bstad from Pixabay 

6 thoughts on “Cottonwood Season

  1. Isn’t creation amazing? More, isn’t our Creator?! I am well familiar with the cottonwood “mess”. I like your way of looking at it though, Sherrey. It’s the hope and promise of life.

    1. Ah, Linda, I agree creation is amazing but more so our Creator. What touched me most in your comment was the last sentence. It left me feeling warm and fuzzy (no pun intended).

  2. The “snow” on our deck and lawn comes from white crepe myrtle. This lovely tree grows all over Austin, livening the landscape for months with white, lavender, or bright pink blossoms. But what a mess their tiny petals make each time the wind blows or rain falls. Yes, this year we are enjoying summer rain. Woo hoo!

    Your post prompted my curiosity. I know that milkweed fluff insulates like down and works better than kapok in life vests. Sure enough, cottonwood fluff can also be pressed into service:

    “The fluffy material surrounding the cottonwood seeds when they are released isn’t just there to look pretty; it consists of seed hair fibers and helps the seed float through the air, giving it a wider range of distribution. Similar to true cotton, these fibers can be gathered and woven into fabric once they’re properly prepared. They can also be used as stuffing.”


    Perhaps your crafty friends would appreciate receiving the bales Bob is raking up.

    Since no cottonwood trees grow near me, I didn’t spend further time on this search, but did notice references to health benefits of cottonwood.

    Huge cottonwoods are common along streams and rivers at lower altitudes in New Mexico. They are perfect for hanging swings and climbing, and their shade is a welcome respite from the summer sun.

    1. Sharon, thanks for the research work! I am familiar with crepe myrtle having grown up with it in our yard in the pink version. Our neighbor here has one of the same color in his front yard. And yes, the rain brings those delicate petals down.

      Who knew all the interesting facts you uncovered? I enjoyed reading your comment so much I read it twice! You are one of my special commenters.

  3. I remember mowing through a drift of this stuff when I was 12 or so. Mistake! I choked and coughed and could barely breathe for what felt like hours but was probably a few minutes. But they make wonderful climbing trees, if you don’t mind a small forest of baby trees sprouting up every summer. (I wrote one into one of my books but neglected to include the fluff. It was even the right time of year!)

    1. Karen, I loved reading your story about cottonwood fluff. And yes, it makes you choke, cough, and nearly stop breathing. Didn’t know about their structural benefits in tree climbing. Did I miss the reference in one of your books sans the fluff?

Comments are closed.