American Sycamore Tree
American Sycamore Leaf
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American Sycamore Tree
American Sycamore Leaf
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Growth Facts

American Sycamore

Platanus occidentalis

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Chalky white Sycamore limbs against a cold blue winter sky… The Sycamore is a majestic tree with bark that exfoliates to reveal smooth patches of tan, olive, and cool white. This is an iconic tree of river valleys in the eastern U.S., where it grows to awe-inspiring proportions. Its immense trunks, uniquely patterned bark, and big, Maple-shaped leaves are known to all who live, hike, or boat in the vast area that Sycamore calls home. If you own a spacious property, you can grow this noble tree as a shade tree in your yard, and it will be cherished for generations to come.

Growth Facts

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The Story

The mighty Sycamore Tree inhabits a large area of the eastern U.S., from Maine to Florida and west to southern Minnesota and Texas. Wherever it finds a sunny, moist site in which to germinate and grow, it has the potential to be the most massive and impressive tree in all the land. Few of the true giants remain, such as the incredible specimen George Washington reported seeing as he travelled down the Ohio River one day. On an island in the river, he found a Sycamore measuring nearly 13 feet in diameter. Other trees, larger still and hollow inside, have been used in the past to shelter livestock, or to even house a pioneer family until a log cabin could be built!

The Details

Also known as the Buttonball Tree, the Sycamore Tree carries its seeds in fluffy balls that dangle from the branches. These seed balls may attract native birds to your yard, such as purple finches, goldfinches, chickadees, and juncos.

How to Grow

The fast-growing Sycamore Tree is easy to grow in a sunny site in average to moist soil. Irrigate with the Bower & Branch Elements™ Watering System and feed your tree annually with Elements™ Fertilizer for best results. Give Sycamore plenty of elbow room. It can be used as a street tree, although the look-alike you often see on city streets is usually the London Plane Tree, a hybrid tree with Sycamore as a parent. One issue that may occur with Sycamore is a disease called anthracnose, which sounds worse than it is. It causes the new growth to die back as if hit by frost. The tree will simply resprout new leaves to replace the damaged ones. The disease is more likely to occur in particularly cool, wet springs.

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale


This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.

Size C Trees:

10-12' tall. Fully developed branching grown in our #25 tree container. Trunk caliper is 1 3/4" to 2" and well past the need for staking. Sycamore are Fast Growing Trees.

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American Sycamore Tree
American Sycamore Leaf