S & J Nursery's guide to growing
in the Northeast Florida Landscape
( Platanus occidentalis )
Sycamore ( Platanus occidentalis )
- Native to North America
Sycamore Preferred Exposure:
- Full sun to light shade
Sycamore Foliage | Bark:
- Deciduous foliage of the Sycamore tree has three to five lobes and is
similar in appearance to a maple leaf except that it is a fair bit larger, up to 10 inches across, covering even
the largest of human hands with all fingers outstretched.
- Sycamore foliage is a light green color and may turn a yellowish tan in fall
before falling off for the winter. ( not really a reliable source of fall color in our warm climate)
- Perhaps the Sycamore trees greatest asset is its white bark that peels off
in patches to reveal smooth new bark beneath adding a textural interest to the trees already showy large light
- Sycamore seed pods are brown ball shaped clusters that hang on branches in the
winter and are great for using in indoor fall decorations.
Sycamore Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:
- Tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions and a wide PH tolerance including
highly alkaline. Great to plant into wet prolonged flood prone areas.
- Sycamore trees have only moderate salt tolerance, able to be used within a
block or two from direct salt spray.
Sycamore / Platanus occidentalis Size Variance:
- can reach sizes of 70-90+ feet H | 50 -70+ feet W depending on how many
trunks are allowed to develop when young
Sycamore Growth Habit:
- upright narrow almost a Christmas tree shape when younger, taller than it is
wide but spreading out to eventually form a more rounded appearance with age
Sycamore Growth Rate:
- extremely fast growth rate, perhaps the fastest growing shade tree for the
North Florida area landscape.
Sycamore / Platanus occidentalis Blooms:
- red inconspicuous bloom is followed by large ball shaped seed pods in winter
that hang on bare branches.
Sycamore Water Requirements:
- Supplemental irrigation may be necessary in extremely well drained areas
Butterfly or Bird Attracting:
Best Uses For Sycamore / Platanus occcidentalis:
- Sycamore trees are a good choice for poorly draining areas where room allows
for the massive mature size of these trees. Also tolerant of high PH soils that cause problems for other
- Allow plenty of room when planting as roots will cause damage to surrounding
hardscape if planted to close.
Care of Sycamore:
- Water every day during the establishment period. See watering your newly
planted trees for more information.
- They will need good water during the establishment period and supplemental
irrigation during dry spells or particularly hot dry summers.
- Prune dead or weakened branches each summer as needed when young and thin
branches to approximately 2 ft apart for best appearance.
- Provide a 1 ft diameter circle of mulched area where grass is kept from growing
for each inch of caliper (or diameter) of trunk measured 4 inches from the ground level.
- Fertilize each spring with a mixture of milorganite and a slow release poly
coated plant food such as Osmocote or Stay Green general purpose plant food, sprinkling the fertilizer around
the mulch circle underneath the foliage of the tree
Click here for more information on Sycamore trees for the North Florida | Jacksonville | St.
Augustine area landscapes
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