Many of you may be experiencing large piles of white fluffy stuff all around your home and in your lawns. Don't worry, it is summer and no, you haven't lost your mind. It's the time of year that the mighty cottonwood (now you know where they got that name) spreads it's seeds through the wind. Here are 5 facts you may or may not know about this yearly occurrence.
- Fast Growing Tree That Doesn't Live Long - Cottonwoods are the fastest growing native-trees in North America, and can reach 150 feet in height. (All Allergy, 1998) surprisingly, these trees have a relatively short life cycle, living only 50 years at the most, so they are typically fast growers. Often growing near rivers or water, the cottonwood loves large amounts of moisture.
- All That Cotton Comes AFTER pollination Ends - Yes, believe it or not, all that fluffy cotton blowing everywhere is a sign that pollination for the cottonwood is over. A very mild allergen, cottonwoods effect sufferers BEFORE the spreading of all that fluffy cotton.
- Cotton Lasts Only Two Weeks and Blows Up to 5 Miles - That's some serious frequent flier miles! However, we only have to put up with the large amounts of cotton for only two weeks a year. This is good because the massive amounts of cottonwood seed travels in the air, piling up in lawns, landscapes, gutters, and other areas.
- Doesn't Usually Cause Hay Fever - While all that cotton may make you feel like your about to sneeze, you have less than a 7% chance of it effecting your allergies, according to studies. (Kadocsa 1993 ref.3251 5) So while it may be gathering all over your lawn and landscape, the cottonwood pollen doesn't usually cause allergy symptoms.
- Can Survive Most Forest Fires - The cottonwood has an extremely thick bark, making it very tolerant to heat, drought, and even forest fires. (Ohio DNR, 2013) For this reason, the cottonwood thrives in the changing weather patterns of the midwest.
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|Shaun Kanary has been a part of the Green Industry for the past 15 years. As the Director of Marketing for Weed Pro Lawn Care, a Cleveland and Columbus Lawn Care Service Provider, Shaun is a regular contributor to the Weed Pro Blog, and other industry magazine and blogs.
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