Eastern Cottonwood Tree Seeds

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Over the weekend Chicago became inundated with millions of seeds for the eastern cottonwood tree. Perhaps the fuzzy seeds floating around Chicago managed to get lodged in your hair, face or food if you happened to be eating outside. The seeds for populus deltoides, one of North America’s largest hardwood trees, can become a nuisance in the garden, in particular, if you are new at starting plants from seeds. 

Here, some seeds for the eastern cottonwood tree landed in a tray of seeds I started and began to germinate. Fortunately, the seeds in the paper tube pots I started had been growing for a while and so there is no chance of me getting them confused. If you see some sprouts that you don’t recognize and the “parachutes” that carry the seeds collected on the soil or on plants chances are those sprouts are from the eastern cottonwood tree. 
Some found their way into buckets I use to collect rainwater and sprouted while floating on the surface of the water. 
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  • Thank you so much for sharing. There were indeed everywhere.
    I was wondering what I was going to find germinating in garden and planters!
    What ya growing in the paper tubes? :-)

  • In reply to PrairieGarden:

    Hi Liane,

    They're either eggplants or tomatoes. I forgot to label them, and now I have some eastern cottonwood trees in there too. :0)

  • In reply to PrairieGarden:

    When I was a kid we called these "summer snow" and it was a reminder that school would soon be out for the summer!

    Where I live now, I don't see much cottonwood, but what we do get all over the place is those tree seeds that look like big flakes of oatmeal. And they're pretty quick to sprout in our gardens, too.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    We called it "summer snow" too, that's funny. I think I know what seeds you're referring too but not the tree they're associated with.

  • In reply to MrBrownThumb:

    A lot of these seeds have fallen on my car, and gotten into the crevices. The recent warm weather and rains have caused some of them to sprout into seedlings. So now I have trees growing on my car!

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