How to Grow and Care for Cottonwood Tree (Complete Guide)

As a master gardener, I’ve learned how to grow these stunning native trees over the past decade. And in this article, I’ll share everything you need to know to successfully grow them. Read on to learn more.

Cottonwood Tree Plant Care

Cottonwood trees, native to North America, are deciduous trees that thrive in zones with full sun and well-drained soil with moderate pH.


Cottonwood trees are deciduous trees native to North America that thrive in full sun. These trees prosper in landscapes exposed to an abundance of sunlight.

Temperature and Humidity

Cottonwood trees thrive in the climate conditions prevalent across many parts of the United States, including Utah, California, and large parts of North America, even extending up to Southern Canada.


To thrive, cottonwood trees generally require well-drained soil and can survive with pH levels that vary.

Types of Cottonwood Tree

Here are some of the most common and popular types of cottonwood trees:

Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)

Renowned for its fast growth, the Eastern Cottonwood boasts a broad, cylindrical trunk and bark that is heavy and deeply ridged.

Black Cottonwood (Populus balsamifera)

Black Cottonwood or Populus balsamifera is an imposing specimen that thrives from California up through the Rocky Mountains.

How to Plant Cottonwood Tree from Seed

Seed Collection Cottonwood trees are dichogamous, which means the female flowers on female trees and the male flowers on separate trees (male trees) mature at different times in early spring.

Seed Preparation

After collecting the seeds, remove any leftover catkin material and soak the seeds in water to help remove the cotton-like strands.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases for Cottonwood Trees

Despite their hardy nature, these deciduous trees are also susceptible to various pests and diseases. Let’s look at the most common ones:


One of the significant pests that thrive on cottonwood trees’ leaves are aphids.

Cottonwood Borer

The Cottonwood borer, primarily found in the eastern cottonwood tree, gnaws recklessly at the trunk and bark of young and mature trees. I

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