The sapwood of Cottonwood is white and may contain brown streaks while the heartwood may be pale to light brown. It is a diffuse, porous timber with a coarse texture. The wood is generally straight grained and contains relatively few defects. Cottonwood is a true poplar, and therefore has similar characteristics and properties to aspen and European poplar.
General machinability is fair, although tension wood is frequently present and can cause a fuzzy surface when cut, which in turn will require additional care when finishing. The wood glues well and has good resistance to splitting when nailing and screwing. It dries easily but may still have a tendency to warp, with small movement in performance.
Cottonwood is relatively light in weight. The wood is soft, and weak in bending and compression, and low in shock resistance. It has no odor or taste when dry.
Non-resistant to decay.
Furniture, furniture parts, interior joinery and mouldings, toys and kitchen utensils. A specialized use is Venetian blinds and shutters.