Tree huggers, tree lovers, and others, let me introduce the Cottonwood. Perhaps one of the nastiest
trees out there in the messy department, here we a have tree that delights in dropping things virtually
year round. I have two of the magnificent beauties which adorn the front of the property and over our
years of tenure here these two monsters have become a regal pain in the arse!

What does this arboreal menace do to upset? …… well it continually drops things and I’m perpetually
cleaning up after it.  If its windy it will shed branches, just small dead ones which it has thousands of.
Next when it comes into leaf it then produces “fluff” which blows around everywhere depositing seeds
on the wind which drift around rather like a spring time blizzard. Now as it gathers late spring/summer
time strength the seeds form tampon like clusters which fall everywhere in 3-5 inch long white mice.
As summer moves along the clusters become bigger and longer and now fall when they reach swiffer
duster size.

In the power lines

Meanwhile the trailing new branches get longer and longer resulting in a weeping willow appearance,
which of course requires continual pruning.  Around the property, thanks to all the summer
thunderstorms and afternoon monsoons the 1/2 million seedlings are germinating all over the park
and are now growing profusely having attained 2-3 inches in perfect growing conditions.

Cottonwood seedlings by the thousand !

To further add to the delights of this plant it now starts dropping branches about 2 feet long in any
windy conditions. ….and then of course we come into autumn or fall, when guess what it will now
generously deposit all it’s leaves. Yes, this tree really is the gift  that just keeps on giving all year

Everywhere you look……. Cottonwoods !

Over a few drinks this summer in the shade garden the fate of the Cottonwoods is discussed and
how to deal with the problem. A week ago having put ideas on a back burner the subject comes to the
fore as the Electric company deposit a “while you were out” notice saying that the trees are interfering
with their overhead power cables and either have to be extensively pruned or taken down. Flipping the
card it states “this will be done, including removal, at NO COST to you”

Rose shelter built, the action begins

The team duly arrive and set forth to do battle. Well I have to say I was very impressed with the
operation and the skill of the tree surgeons. They build shelters around the base of the trees and
anywhere I have plants and gently take down the tree branch by branch in small pieces. The junk and
leaves disappear into the chipper and anything that can be used as firewood is cut up and neatly
stacked ready for winter. Well even at this stage the tree misbehaves and becomes octopus like
sending out clouds of cat pee like vapor on every cut…… yes, it stinks as well!

Skillful use of the cherry picker

The last branch is removed, trunk to go

The team remove the first tree in a day and say they will be back on Monday to get rid of the bigger of
the two. They clean up and leave no mess and cut the first stump level at the height I desire for a later
feature in the rose bed.

Nicely cut and leveled

Monday and they are back at it and skillfully remove the other one branch by branch without causing
any noticeable damage to my rock, heather and conifer bed beneath. Once more the stump is cut and
leveled to my requested height, the logs are stacked as required and they clean up and leave. Now
thats service!

Monday, and now the Big One !

Nearly there……..

Ready for a “future” feature

The winter log pile for FREE


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