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Cottonwood frost damage -Prune?

Posted by FalconK Colorado (My Page) on
Thu, May 10, 12 at 14:33

Hello all. New member here. I planted a 7' tall Cottonless Cottonwood tree late last summer. In early spring it appeared to product small, gray buds at the ends of the branches. March and April were warmer than usual, then we had several hard frosts, and snows. The small branch ends, and buds are still gray in color, but are somewhat shrivelled, and the buds did not leaf out. The tree has produced less than a dozen full size leaves low on the trunk, and is even creating what looks like a sucker from about a foot up the trunk. This grow is where no branches were. The upper, non-producing branches are still somewhat flexible. Should I prune the ends of the upper branches, cutting off the "dead" buds? Will thi encourage new growth in the upper part of the tree? Or, should I just leave it and hope for recovery next spring?
Thank you.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Cottonwood frost damage -Prune?

a picture would sure help ...

i hope this cottonwood isnt within about 50 to 100 feet of your house ???? fast growing.. fast to shed VERY LARGE branches.. etc ....

so.. if you got a sunburn.. should we cut off your arm?? i dont understand whey frost would make you want to start cutting the thing apart ... no on that idea ...

what i am really wondering about .. is planting a 7 foot tree in summer ... and whether it was actually on deaths door from winter.. rather some minor frost ...

can you give us more facts on the timing and process of the planting.. including potted.. ball and burlap.. etc ..

and a picture...

the next proper planting time for you is sept/oct.. so we have some time to decide what to do with this thing ... do not replace it in summer ...


RE: Cottonwood frost damage -Prune?

Thanks. Here's more info. The tree is about 80' from house which is located at 7,000 ft. elevation in the Colorado high plains (think dry, clay soil). Cottonwoods are about the only natural tree you see out here, but others do take. We planted this last August per the local nursary's instructions using their custom planting mix designed for this clay soi.

Here is a link that might be useful: branch pic

Leaf pic

Another pic showing the few full sized leaves growing from the lower trunk, not a pre-existing branch.

Here is a link that might be useful: Leaves growing from trunk

One more branch pic

This is a severly antiquated forum structure so I can't post more than one pic at a time. Here's one more of a branch

Here is a link that might be useful: second leaf pic

RE: Cottonwood frost damage -Prune?

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Fri, May 11, 12 at 9:57

Prune at ground level and you're set!

RE: Cottonwood frost damage -Prune?

Gee thanks whaas. I did have to do that to four blue spruce that died of needlecast. Now I know how to combat that. I only have one spruce and one ponderosa left in the back yard. However, after nursing two little plants for 6 years, I think I have two emerging lilacs! Who would have known. Note to self: bunny poop works!

RE: Cottonwood frost damage -Prune?

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Fri, May 11, 12 at 15:03

Its just my opinion but cottonwood is in the top 5 worst trees to plant in zone 5 and lower. Came off as not helpful...but really I am helping you!

RE: Cottonwood frost damage -Prune?

Don't be too harsh whaas... in some areas of the arid West, Cottonwood is actually considered a NICE tree... decent form, good foliage and it actually gets to tree size. In northeastern Nevada I've only seen two deciduous tree species that get to tree size... cottonwood and that despicable Siberian Elm... I'd gladly take cottonwood over that joke of a tree.

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