Is there any way to sterilize poplar trees so that they don’t produce those awful sticky pods or the white floating fuzzies? This was the worst year and clean up takes forever.
No, there isn’t. The best recommendation is to remove the tree and start over. The Eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides) has little residential landscape value due to its messy habits and weed-like seedlings. Its soft, weak wood easily splits and breaks in storms. There are several cottonless (male) varieties available. But with the abundance of so many preferred tree species for homeowner use, it seems pointless to replant with a male version of an essentially scrap tree. If you remove your offensive tenant, consider the maple family for replacements. Avoid the quick-growing, overused silver maple that rivals the cottonwood in susceptibility to insect pests, diseases and weak wood. Also consider the European beech (Fagus sylvatica), which has many excellent cultivars available.