Species Specifics: Cottonwood

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Cottonwood branch

Reaching heights of 100 feet, cottonwood can be a big problem in pastures if not taken care of early. Read how you can clear encroaching cottonwood today.


  • As one of the tallest species in North America, cottonwood trees can grow up to 100 feet tall. Treat them before they become a big problem in your pastures.
  • “Snow in July” commonly describes the cottonlike seed covering produced by cottonwood trees.
  • Whether cottonwood species have taken over your pastures or are just past the point of comfort, various application methods with Remedy® Ultra herbicide can help.



Cottonwoods (Populus sp.) are some of the largest perennial tree species in the United States, reaching up to 100 feet in height. They can be characterized by their thick, deeply furrowed bark; triangular, toothed leaves that create a distinct rustling sound when disturbed; and, most notorious, their seeds. As the saying goes, the fluffy seed coverings look like “snow in July” when they fall from the tall trees.


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant database, cottonwood can be found in every state in the United States, be it native or introduced. There are several species, but eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides) is the most common. The species prefer damp soil conditions and are often found near rivers, lakes, ponds and other low-land areas. Cottonwood species can be beneficial for wildlife habitats and in riparian zones, but because of its tenacious growth habits, it can become invasive and misplace native vegetation.


Individual plant treatments, such as basal cut-stump and low-volume basal applications, are an excellent method of control for cottonwood saplings and smaller trees that have grown invasively in pastures; this allows you to selectively remove individual cottonwoods that are no longer beneficial before they mature and removal becomes much more expensive.

For basal cut-stump applications, prepare a mix of 25% Remedy® Ultra herbicide plus 75% commercial basal oil. Spray the outer portion of the cut surface, the sides of the stump to the soil line and any exposed roots. You can use this same herbicide-plus-oil mix for low-volume basal applications to treat cottonwood — and most other woody species — with trunks smaller than 6 inches diameter at the base of the tree. Simply apply enough spray to wet the lower 15 to 20 inches of the trunk, including the root collar. Do not spray to the point of runoff. These applications can be made year-round as long as snow or standing water do not prevent proper application.

If treating a larger area of smaller, emerging saplings in the summer, you can combine broadcast applications of 2 to 4 pints per acre of Remedy Ultra with 2,4-D low-volatile ester or amine formulation when cottonwoods are fully leafed out. To control a broader spectrum of woody plants and broadleaf weeds, Remedy Ultra may be tank-mixed with DuraCor® herbicide. When tank-mixing, follow all applicable use directions, precautions and limitations on the respective product labels.



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™ ® Trademarks of Corteva Agriscience and its affiliated companies. Under normal conditions DuraCor® is nonvolatile. DuraCor has no grazing or haying restrictions for any class of livestock, including lactating dairy cows, horses (including lactating mares) and meat animals prior to slaughter. Label precautions apply to forage treated with DuraCor and to manure and urine from animals that have consumed treated forage. DuraCor is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. State restrictions on the sale and use of Remedy® Ultra apply. Consult the label for full details. Always read and follow label directions. ® 2021 Corteva.

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