Black cottonwood is a large deciduous tree belonging to the willow family (Salicaceae). It is one of the largest of some 40 species of Populus and is the tallest, fastest-growing hardwood in the western United States. In the Pacific Northwest, black cottonwood is most abundant in the Puget Sound.
Black cottonwood seeds are minute, and are tufted with cottony hairs. Seed generally ripens in late May and June in the Northwest, and it is rapidly disseminated by wind and water. Viability is usually high, although it is often short-lived. Seed may remain viable for up to 1 year when dried and stored at cold temperatures.
Black cottonwood is a weak wood that is rarely used in applications where high strength is required. Bending strength is classed as low, while in stiffness and toughness, black cottonwood is rated as intermediate. Because of its low density, cottonwood does not readily split during nailing. The nail-holding strength of the wood is low. In bending applications, almost 70 percent of the pieces failed. Despite these apparent shortcomings, cottonwoods show some potential as framing materials because their strength properties are comparable to those of currently used softwood species of similar densities. Appendix 1, Table 3 provides information on clear strength values, as well as comparative values for similar species.
Cottonwood Tree limbs and trunks are very brittle especially during dry spells. They are the most dangerous to climb for the tree service industry. The branches can snap at the smallest amount of wind and in the Greater Puget Sound area we do have allot of wind. When the branches fall and crash to the ground they usually shatter into pieces. Here is another interesting article to look over http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/looming-cottonwoods-pose-threats-raise-issue-of-city-ordinance/article_030170c3-382a-5f13-96c0-8e6a74f74c72.html
Here is a Seattle Times article http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/weather/crews-working-to-restore-power-throughout-western-washington/
At P’nD Tree Service we are highly experienced in dangerous Cottonwood tree removals. If your concerned about these trees in your yard and would like a free written estimate give us a call.