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Old 06-17-2000, 06:15 PM
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Default cottonwoods

I'm re-planting my whole backyard and am very excited and determined to do it with natives. I live in Long Beach, about a mile or two from the Santa Ana River. The houses here were built over 50 years ago and before that this area was the hub of the Bixby Ranch; it's very hard to find out what grew here naturally. I have so many questions, but I'll focus on one today. I think cottonwoods were native here and would like to plant one, but I've read that they're very destructive to cement, pipes, and neighboring plants. Does anyone know if this is true, and how much space I would have to allow?

thank you</p>
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Old 06-20-2000, 02:27 AM
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Default Re: cottonwoods

Sage - Yes indeed, cottonwoods can be destructive and unfriendly when it comes to allergy season. Cotton woods send out lots of lateral roots in their search for water, and they drink alot. They will also begin to sprout new trees from their laterals which can result in a clonal stand. They are rapidly growing trees and will provide nice shade in a relatively short time span and once they are well established can tolerate some drought conditions. Try looking up cottonwood on the internet and see hwat you come up with. Let me know if you have any other questions. Ben</p>
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Old 06-22-2000, 06:46 AM
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Default Re: cottonwoods

We have two cottonwoods that are Southern California natives: Black cottonwood and Fremont cottonwood. Neither of them should cause the same degree of concern as quaking aspen Populus tremuloides or the non native lombardy poplar. Black cottonwood, because of its massive height, is most appropriate in parks and at large estates. Fremont cottonwood is used frequently in Southern California landscapes by traditional landscapers. Like many if not most trees, its roots will seek out water. If the tree is given deep and not too frequent irrigation, especially as it is becoming established, it will develop deep roots that will not need to stray to find water. I have never heard of the Fremont cottonwood sending up root suckers or having any detrimental effect on neighboring plants. I have heard it recommended that all you need to do is avoid pipes in the drip zone but, being cautions, I would probably prefer a 15' to 30' buffer. Fremont cottonwoods, by the way, are truly lovely trees with interesting leaves. Their numbers have been gravely impacted by development along rivers and streams and it always does my heart good to see them planted in the landscape.</p>
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