American sycamore is Indiana's state tree and the Nation's most massive broadleaf tree. Being large, along with the fact that sycamore is rot and damage prone, nearly eliminated the tree from this list. But I stick with the tree and it's significant shortcomings.

Sycamore is by far the most popular tree on my site with hundreds of daily visits to several sites I've devoted to the tree. People love its winter brilliance, it's creamy, shedding bark and growth potential. The people have spoken.

Habit and Range:

American sycamore is one of the simplest trees to grow and transplants like a dream. In North America, sycamore attains large tree status and grows 75' to 100' tall. Be forewarned - the sycamore should only be planted as a single yard specimen or in places where space is not a premium. Sycamore occupies one of the largest north-south ranges in North America - from Canada to Florida. The tree is very site tolerant and can grow under nearly any condition but is best adapted to creek banks.

Planting Instructions

Your planting site should be made of loose, quality soil. Dig your hole two times the width and depth of the root system of the plant your are working with. This will give the roots plenty of room to grow. When refilling the hole with soil, be sure to completely cover your roots with soil so that there are no air pockets underground. If pockets of air come in contact with your roots, they will dry out quickly. Cover the roots completely with soil but leave the stem above ground.

Be sure to read the following for further growth and amazing beauty of your American Sycamore Tree:

Initial Well Being - If you doubt that your American Sycamore tree is alive, perform the scratch test. Scratch off a small piece of your tree’s bark, approximately one inch above where the root system meets the stem. If the plant tissue underneath is white or green, it is alive; if it is brown or black, it is dead.

Seasonal Information - Be sure to plant your tree at least 6 weeks before your first frost. This will give the tree a chance to adjust to its new environment. If you are experiencing extreme heat, place your potted American Sycamore in a well-shaded area, such as a garage, or plant it in a well-shaded area in your lawn. Once older, your tree will be able to handle these temperatures. Typically trees do not experience much growth during times of extreme temperatures.

Watering – During the first year, make sure your tree gets water during extended dry spells, particularly in the summer months. Drooping leaves are a sign of both over or under watering, so take great care of your tree.

Fertilizer –Fertilize conservatively. Organic fertilizer high in nitrogen works well. You can use Miracle Grow, a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 fertilizer. Avoid fertilizing the tree directly. Instead, fertilize the tree’s soil.

Weed Control – Keep weeds and grass two to three feet away from the tree in the first year. Pull the weeds initially, and then you can use a growing mat or mulch. Do not spray Roundup on a young tree and be careful that wind does not blow chemical drift on the tree.

Deer – If you think deer may be a problem, sprinkle some “Deer Away” on the top of the tree until it grows beyond its reach.

Insects and Disease - The best defense is a healthy tree. These trees are very hardy. Good soil, proper feeding and keeping the tree from getting too much water are key to its prosperity.

If worms bite holes in the leaves you can sprinkle seven dust on them. These little bites do not affect the tree since it is growing at such a fast rate and putting on so many new leaves.

Pets – American Sycamore trees are not poisonous, so they will not harm your pets.

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