One of the largest Cottonwood Trees in Kansas

This is one of the largest cottonwood trees in Kansas.  It is located in El Dorado.  Pioneers used the cottonwood as building materials for cabins.  It was not the preferred wood as it is soft, weak, and porous.  It was chosen only when other sturdy woods were unavailable.  They reproduce from the “cotton” that the Kansas winds blow around like snow in the early summer.  Cottonwoods grow rapidly in ideal conditions, reaching 100 feet in 15 years.

Where’s Wylie????? (Look closely)


Can quite reach far enough.  I love those tree huggers:)


15 thoughts on “One of the largest Cottonwood Trees in Kansas

  1. rogerringer

    I know of where the largest cottonwood tree in the state is. But as a community no one outside has ever been told. The owners do not want damage or the traffic that can happen. Cottonwood when stripped of the bark and kept from water becomes as hard as oak. All the buildings on the farm I used to farm for a friend are all framed with cottonwood that was cut and milled on the farm. I have shelves in my room that are walnut that was cut and milled at the same time. This would have been in the 1880’s. The board I made the shelves from was a Christmas present to me one year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debra Farmer Post author

      I know I would be the same way, if I had the largest cottonwood tree on my property. Some people now days have NO respect for others property. The cottonwood I photographed is at a business and thankfully they lock the gate when they aren’t there. I certainly didn’t know that about the wood. I just always figured it was a soft wood. And how wonderful that you were given the board that you made your shelves from. That’s old wood.
      I love the wealth of knowledge you have in your head!
      Have a wonderful day. Tell all hello from me and Wylie.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Debra Farmer Post author

      I so sorry that you are having a problem posting a reply.
      I approved the post stating that there was a problem. Maybe by me approving this post it will allow for future replies.

      Isn’t that a beautiful Cottonwood tree!!


      1. Steve & Vicki

        Hi, I’m Steve and I love your tree! (I hope I don’t get reprimanded for this long post!)
        As a tree enthusiast, I agree with rogerringer (is this the famous RR? 🙂 regarding the wood.
        I have always been enchanted by Kansas. Originally from Illinois, my wife Vicki and I currently reside in Arizona. Since I was a boy, growing up on the Little Calumet River, during the 60s & 70s, I have researched my favorite tree, the Cottonwood. One of the half-truths I continually encounter (besides its “weak” wood), is its reputedly brief lifespan. Usually dismissed as “short-lived”, there are of course countless “exceptions” on record (and certainly off). To me, an excellent Cottonwood and an excellent White Oak are equals.

        That being said, I would like to copy & paste part of a text document, on which I have collected writings regarding the lifespan of Populus deltoides, fremontii, etc. Thank you,
        Many people deplore these trees, for little reason, but those of us who “get them” are like movie fans who understand the cult classic that most dopes fail to comprehend. One huge misconception is the “short-lived” lifespan often applied to the tree. Some sources declare an age past 75 years is impossible. More accurately, it is a “medium-lived” tree.

        ~Wiki: “Eastern Cottonwoods typically live 70 to 100 years, but..have the potential to live 200 to 400 years if they have a good growing environment.”
        ~A naturalist at North Dakota Outdoors Magazine told me he has seen felled Cottonwoods exceeding the age of two centuries.
        ~I personally counted over 150 growth rings in an Eastern Cottonwood that had been foolishly (as usual) cut down. It grew at 7751 W Myrtle, Chicago, and had been estimated in 1976 to be 135-years-old by Dr George Ware of the Morton Arboretum.
        ~”A majestic 300-year-old cottonwood tree greets visitors crossing the Granite Creek Bridge entrance into Prescott Mile High Middle School in Prescott, Arizona. This great tree symbolizes growth, tradition, and adaptation. In 1867, a small log cabin, the first school in Arizona, was built in the shade of this great cottonwood…” -Prescott Mile High site.
        ~”Located at the west end of Harriet Island Regional Park…stands one of the largest trees in the city, a beautiful eastern cottonwood. Many of the trees in Harriet Island’s flood plain are cottonwoods which are well-adapted to this flood-prone area. When Harriet Island became a park in 1900, the tree had already established itself as a stately shade tree. It’s estimated the tree dates back to the 1620’s. Growing in ideal conditions, cottonwoods have a maximum life span of 200-400 years.” -online site
        ~”A park in Fernie, B.C., protects some of the biggest, oldest black Cottonwoods in the world, interspersed in an old-growth western red cedar forest. Towering as high as a 10-storey building, these trees provide homes for many species, including dens for black bears, nests for the endangered Western Screech-Owl, and habitat for many other songbirds and insects.
        “In 2003 this grove of Cottonwood trees was discovered that rival Canada’s famed coastal cedars and firs in both age and girth. Scientists confirmed the ages of the trees, putting the oldest at more than 400 years old, and measuring up to 10 metres around. They are by far the oldest known Cottonwoods in the world. Fernie is located in southeast British Columbia, Canada.” -online site
        ~Landscaping With Native Trees (Sternberg & Wilson): “…(Cottonwood trees) are so resilient that some live to take their place among the largest of our deciduous trees. A few of the venerable Cottonwoods that shaded Lewis and Clark on their Journey of Discovery in 1804 are still growing along the Missouri River.” (This would estimate their age at about 250 years old.)
        ~Chicago Sun-Times, April 28 2018: “An eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides) growing in the Byron Forest Preserve District’s new Bald Hill Prairie Preserve is the Illinois Big Tree Champion. It’s estimated to be 200 years old, making it a bicentennial tree, which probably started growing when Illinois became the 21st state in 1818.” (This replaced the 175-year-old specimen at Gebhard Woods.)
        ~Knowing Your Trees (Collingwood and Brush) approximates the lifespan of Cottonwood at about 150-years.
        ~You can research the prematurely destroyed Cottonwood of William and Beatrice Carmel. It was over 200 years old. (We call these “exceptions” when we really need to increase the average estimated lifespan to perhaps 75-100 years; considerably more when favorable genetics and environs come into play. I’ve quoted a few sources on this, but will now instead share the stirring words of Charles S Sargent, first director of Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum:
        “With its massive pale stem, its great spreading limbs and broad head of pendulous branches covered with fluttering leaves of the most brilliant green, Populus deltoides is one of the stateliest and most beautiful inhabitants of the forests of North America.”
        Indeed. This species (often disheveled in some older specimens) can rival more “aristocratic” trees in terms of beauty and luxuriant foliage. Author Kathleen Cain rightly calls the Cottonwood an “American Champion”.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Debra Farmer Post author

        Yes! it is The Famous RR. I take it you know him. He’s a good man.
        Thank you so much for the wonderful information. A lot of our trees are really suffering from droughts and a lot are falling form being bulldozes, cleaning up pastures and creek beds. The above tree is safe for now and hopefully many many years! It would be interesting to know how old this tree is. I had no idea that they had such long long life span.
        Thanks again!!!
        So glad that you found my Farmer Days.


      3. Steve & Vicki

        Thank you so much, and God bless! -Steve & Vicki, Phoenix AZ
        PS I don’t know RR, but did an online search. Interesting man. While I am a rock drummer, I have always enjoyed virtually all styles of music, including Western. (I would love to accompany Mr Ringer any day! 🙂 The Flying W Wranglers are one of my faves. Better not clutter this blog like autumn leaves under a tree. 🙂


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