We often get asked, “How do I get rid of the cotton from my Cottonwood Tree or the fruit from my ‘Fruitless Plum’ or Mulberry Trees?” At this time there are 3 solutions.
The first solution is a product called Florel. It is a topical spray and will reduce the fruit IF (and that’s a big if) the spray is used at the correct time. The timing is after the buds swell and just before the tree begins to flower (on a flowering tree) or produce leaves (on a non-flowering tree). If we do not get the timing right, the treatment does not work or works only partially. The window is only about a week depending on the weather. Since the timing is not the same every year and is changes annually with the weather and your neighborhood, we rely on you to tell us when it is time. Even under the best conditions, you can still get a small amount of fruit. This chemical is expensive (about 50% more than other topical sprays) and treatment has to be done annually.
The second solution is an injectable product that does not rely so specifically on timing but more on patience. The tree should be injected in late January or early February. The first year you can expect reduced fruit to maybe about half. The second year, maybe about ¾ reduced fruit. The third year should be almost fruitless. The price is based on the size of the trunk and for big, old Cottonwood Trees, can get very expensive. This treatment has to be done annually and is only effective if the tree is well watered.
The third solution is to remove the tree and replace it with another tree. Although the initial cost for this solution is much greater, in the long run it can be less expensive.