Some cottonwood is difficult to work with tools because of fuzzy surfaces. Tension wood is largely responsible for this characteristic. Cottonwood lumber and veneer go largely into boxes, crates, baskets, and plates.

The heartwood of cottonwood is grayish-white to light brown. The sapwood is whitish and merges gradually into the heartwood.

Cottonwood includes several species of the genus Populus. Most important is eastern cottonwood. Eastern cottonwood and swamp cottonwood grow throughout the eastern half of the United States. Greatest production of lumber is in the Southern and Central states.

Physical Properties:
The wood is comparatively uniform in texture, and generally straight-grained. It is odorless when well seasoned. Eastern cottonwood is moderately low in bending and compressive strength, moderately stiff, moderately soft, and moderately low in ability to resist shock. Eastern cottonwood has moderately large shrinkage and light in weight (24lbs./cu.ft.).