Plus, watering the soil will help pack it down a little; cotton also prefers a firm sowing bed. After planting, cuttings were trimmed to a height of about 6 to 12 inches above grade. This giant may grow 24+" annually, once established. CULTURE: Cottonwood is easy to grow in almost any soil. Eastern Cottonwood Populus deltoides If you want to achieve quick shade in a large open space, Eastern Cottonwood is a fine choice. Dampen the soil before planting. Cottonwood and Willow Pole Planting Suggested Methodologies for Cottonwood Pole, Willow Whip, and Longstem Plantings This guide describes techniques for harvesting, storing, and planting various types of plant materials, including dormant cottonwood pole cuttings, willow … Water the area thoroughly to make sure the soil is damp. Plant with the top bud just above ground level and make sure the soil doesn't dry out. Stressed trees are commonly attacked by borers. Planting sites were mulched with shredded bark mulch. 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