Skip to product information
1 of 2

American Sycamore

American Sycamore


Description: The American Sycamore is a fast-growing tree with a broad, spreading canopy and a massive trunk. It typically grows to heights of 75 to 100 feet (23 to 30 meters) or more, with a spread of 50 to 70 feet (15 to 21 meters) at maturity. The tree features a straight, stout trunk with a distinctive mottled bark that exfoliates in irregular patches, revealing creamy-white, green, and tan patches beneath. The leaves of the American Sycamore are large, palmately lobed, and have three to five lobes with serrated margins. They are bright green in spring and summer, turning yellow-brown to brown in the fall before dropping. Inconspicuous flowers appear in spring, followed by small, round seed balls that persist into winter and provide food for wildlife.

Best Growing Zones: The American Sycamore is well-adapted to a wide range of growing conditions and is suitable for USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9. It thrives in moist, fertile soils and is commonly found along riverbanks, floodplains, and other riparian areas. However, it can also tolerate a variety of soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soil, as long as it is well-drained. American Sycamore trees prefer full sun exposure but can also tolerate partial shade.

Soil Requirements: American Sycamores prefer moist, fertile soil with good drainage but can tolerate a range of soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soil. They are relatively tolerant of wet or poorly drained soils and can withstand periodic flooding. However, they may struggle in excessively dry or compacted soils. Adding organic matter such as compost or aged manure to the planting hole can improve soil fertility and structure and promote healthy root growth.

Maintenance: American Sycamores are relatively low-maintenance trees once established but may require occasional pruning to remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches and to maintain a strong and attractive form. Pruning is best done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. American Sycamores are relatively pest and disease resistant but may occasionally be affected by issues such as anthracnose, powdery mildew, or sycamore lace bugs. These problems can usually be managed with proper cultural practices, such as providing good air circulation and avoiding overhead watering.

Landscape Use: American Sycamores are valued for their massive size, attractive bark, and broad canopy, making them excellent shade trees for parks, streetscapes, and large landscapes. They are also suitable for planting along waterways, where their extensive root systems help stabilize banks and prevent erosion. American Sycamores can be used as specimen trees, focal points, or shade trees in gardens and landscapes, where their distinctive bark and foliage add visual interest and natural beauty. Additionally, they provide habitat and food for wildlife, making them valuable components of wildlife gardens and naturalized areas. Overall, the American Sycamore is a majestic and iconic tree that adds beauty, shade, and ecological value to the landscape.

View full details