Yes, cotton wood trees are invasive. The female flowers give off many seed capsules during the Spring which are carried through the air as the fall off during Summer and early Fall. These seeds then sprout new trees within the next season. These trees are very hard to get rid of because they are very tolerant and adapt well to almost any climate that is within in the United States and Canada.
The cottonwood tree is a member of trees that only grows wet soil, which is why you can find many cottonwood trees growing near rivers and creek bottoms, and lakes.
The cottonwoods are considered to be native tree to prairies and were used as reliable indicators of water by early explorers like Lewis and Clark. This tree is a very invasive along riparian corridors, and many of the times crowds out other native trees and shrubs.
Any tree can be considered an invasive tree if it is growing in an area two which is it not native, especially if it is competing and overtaking native species. To see the native area of the cottonwood tree, check out this website: https://fp.auburn.edu/sfws/sfnmc/class/cotton2.jpg
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