American Sycamore (Plantanus occidentalis)
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|trees|deciduous|height 60-80'|spread 25-30'|sun/shade|nesting habitat for large birds|
American Sycamore (Plantanus occidentalis)

The American Sycamore is one our most desirable trees. It is fast growing, drought tolerant and disease free. Ben Franklin long argued during the Revolution and formation of the U.S. that this deserved to be our national tree due to its many virtues.

The Sycamore was sacred to the ancient Greeks and was their most used tree in public and sacred plantings. Our tree is 60-80' high and reaches its height within 20 years. Its pyramidal crown casts a dense but small shade allowing all commonly used turf grasses to live below it.

Its white/gray bark is exceptionally appealing. The leaves emit an intoxicating spicy smell at dawn. The roots are shallow and the tree should be planted 8' or more from any sidewalk, driveway, etc.

The large leaves should be raked up so as not to damage a lawn. There is no fall color. The wood is relatively soft but the tree is resistant to wind and hail damage and immune to ice damage. It is used in butcher blocks and a few other items.

Like the Bald Cypress this tree has been accused of being a water hog. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is very tough and needs watering only through its first summer.

American Sycamore is deer resistant but trunks need to be protected from rubbing antlers.


 

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