No, It’s Not Snow – It’s the Annual Cottonwood Tree Bloom in Southern Utah

Have you been wondering what that fluffy white stuff is that you’re seeing falling from the sky and collecting on the ground all around Springdale and Zion National Park?

It’s not snow ❄… unfortunately (we could really use that right about now!)

It’s an annual event that we experience in Southern Utah called the Cottonwood bloom.

The Western Cottonwood trees that you see growing so beautifully along banks of the Virgin River, creating a stark contrast of green leaves against red rocks, release their cotton after pollination is complete.

You may also have noticed a bunch of creepy crawly caterpillars wandering all over the roads and sidewalks, along with what looks like enclosed webs full of insects overtaking the Cottonwood trees (and other shrubs and trees). 🌳

(*Image courtesy of: https://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/eastern_utah.html?sti=nz11l3g1t0soqpkd8w|)

These are Western Tent Caterpillars, and don’t worry, unless you happen to be a tree, they’re pretty harmless (assuming you don’t have an uncommon allergy to them). I used to pick them up and play with them all the time as a kid.

Luckily, both of these natural phenomena are temporary and only last a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, shield your eyes from the little pieces of cotton flying around, and watch your step. 🐛