S & J Nursery’s guide to growing

Sycamore Trees

in the Northeast Florida Landscape

 ( Platanus occidentalis )

Sycamore ( Platanus occidentalis )Sycamore tree in the Northeast Florida home landscape

Sycamore Origins:

 – 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 green leaves.

– 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:

– n/a

 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 trees.

 – 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