Apr 03, 2023

White Stuff Flying Through the Air in June Causing Allergy Issues

It's 92 degrees, definitely abnormal for the end of May, or the beginning of June. In the midst of the early season heat, you glance out a window only to see what looks like fluffy snow falling from the sky. There's so much, it's actually accumulating along the driveway and on the grass.

What is it? I'm sure it's sending my seasonal allergies into overdrive.

First, they are seedlings from the female Eastern Cottonwood Tree (the male tree is cotton-less). "Eastern cottonwood is an exceedingly rapid-growing, moisture-loving species that is found locally in moist places and along streams and lakes throughout the state except at the higher elevations. The wood is light, soft, and weak, and is dark brown in color with thick nearly white sapwood, warping badly in drying," according to Cornell University.

The tree can be considered a nuisance because the seedlings accumulate and often times clog up pool filters or gutters. When it rains, it turns the cotton-like seedlings into a slimy, clumped-up fiber that simply makes a mess.

The whole process is actually the Cottonwood trees natural way of populating. The seeds are nestled in the cotton-like hairs or fibers, light as a feather, in the shape of a ball that floats for miles in the springtime breeze.

What about allergies? This has to be as bad as the pollen that blows around and has people coughing and sneezing.

It turns out, while you might find it hard to believe, the white stuff floating through the air has absolutely no allergenic qualities. Despite what it seems, it's not creating a flare-up of your seasonal allergies what so ever.

When places near water, the trees grow rapidly and the root system is problematic near homes because it tends to break into and clog sewer lines and cause structural issues with foundations. According to Cornell, one use for the pulp is to make wooden boxes.

Click here to learn more about the Cottonwood tree.