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Sycamore tree

Sycamore Tree

Ships In Fall
Description: American Sycamore/Platanus occidentalis Hardy Planting Zones- 4-9 Mature Height- 75-100 feet Mature Width-40-45' feet Bloom Season- Spring Sun or Shade- Sun
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  • Product Description

    Sycamore Tree — Platanus occidentalis

    The sycamore is a long lived tree of ancient lineage. One of the oldest sycamore trees is thought to be at least 400 years old. The tree can grow 90 to 130 feet tall and is often as wide as it is tall. The trunk can be massive, and the trunks of some venerable sycamores are as much as 13 feet in diameter. Clearly, this tree needs a lot of space to grow but rewards time and care with beautiful bark and deep shade. The sycamore is notoriously tolerant of pollution and salt, which is why it’s so often seen in cities.

    The sycamore thrives in hardiness zones 4 through 9. It does best in rich soil near bodies of water but is drought tolerant. It’s also capable of amazing yearly growth. Some botanists claim that a well-cared for tree can grow 6 feet in a year. Some professionals recommend that the tree be pruned to keep it at no more than 25 feet high. The tree, which is quite tough, can tolerate hard pruning. It also benefits from some fertilizer given in the fall.

    In summer, the sycamore’s branches are dense with 4 to 9 inch long leaves. They are nearly heart shaped, with three to five lobes, light green above and pale below. The leafstalk has a hollow base that hides the winter bud. The fruits are the familiar button balls, or conkers. They are made up of dry, hairy seeds called achenes. These achenes are light enough to float on both wind and water.

    The sycamore is also singular in that its bark peels off it large brown sheets, revealing the fresh, cream-colored bark that gives the tree an attractive, mottled appearance. This mottling really stands out during the winter after the leaves fall.

    The flowers arrive in April, with yellow male flowers and red female flowers. They grow on the same tree, with the large female flowers at the tip of a branch and the smaller males farther back on old wood.

    The sycamore tree grows to a mature height of 75 to 100 feet at a rate of about two feet per year. Young trees exhibit a pyramidal shape, but they develop a spreading crown as they grow into their full size. The trunk can grow to over ten feet in diameter, and is red to brown near the ground and light grey to white and mottled nearer the top. Young spring foliage is cream colored, while mature leaves in the summer are huge and colored medium to dark green. This tree provides beautiful yellow autumn color. In the winter, it boasts beautiful, reddish, round clusters of seeds that hang singly or in pairs.

    Although the sycamore prefers deep and rich soil, it will tolerate poor conditions and a wide range of acidity. In fact, it will grow in almost any type of soil and requires little maintenance. Dead branches can be removed any time of year. Spring is the time to prune branches that droop into walking areas or over roads. It is native to the eastern US and hardy in zones 6-10. A massive and sturdy tree, the sycamore is known to stand up to adverse weather conditions like hurricanes and ice storms.

    Sycamores grow into massive specimens. It is advised to keep this in mind when deciding where to plant them. They are very long-lived trees, so plant them where you want them forever. Many species of birds like to nest in sycamores. Squirrels are often seen climbing and sunning in the tops and higher limbs. Human families are also attracted by the cool shade and natural beauty afforded by the sycamore. The stately sycamore can become the focal point of a yard, and their mottled bark offers a gorgeous contrast to the typical grey trunks of companion trees.

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