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Lawn & Garden

Platanus occidentalis, American sycamore

Common Name: American sycamore

Type: tree

Family: Platanaceae

Zone: 4 to 9     Find Your Zone

Height: 70 to 100 feet

Width: 70 feet

Sun exposure: full sun

Fall Color: brown

Soil: wet, fertile

Leaves: deciduous

Fertilizer: Vigoro Tree, Shrub and Evergreen or Miracle Gro Evergreen Tree Spikes


This large deciduous trees leaves can really litter up a yard. This tree is recommended for larger properties planted on a wood line or near a creek or lowland. This tree has very impressive, colorful, peeling bark that is unmistakable. This tree is adaptable and can tolerate some drought and well-drained soil but prefers wet conditions. Sycamore has an invasive root system so avoid planting in the lawn or in high traffic areas. Sycamore is also a quick grower that can grow up to 6 feet per year. Other names include Planetree, buttonwood and buttonball. Check out our 8 Water Loving Trees.


STEP 1: Digging the hole

  • Find a location that has suitable sun exposure for your particular type of plant.
  • Dig your hole an inch or two shallower than the rootball of the plant.
  • Dig the hole twice the diameter of the rootball.
  • Scuff up the sides of the hole with a shovel to help roots break through the native soil.

STEP 2: Putting plant in hole

  • When removing the plant from the pot, check to see if the roots were circling the pot.
  • If the plant is rootbound, gently break up the roots with your hands until loosened up.
  • Set plant level, in the center of the hole.
  • Make sure the top of the rootball is just above soil level.

STEP 3: Amending the soil and filling in the hole

  • Amend the soil with proper amendments for your soil type. 
  • Incorporate 50% native soil with 50% amendment soils like garden soil, composted manure or soil conditioner.
  • Make sure dirt clods are broken up or removed from hole along with rocks.
  • Fill the hole with soils to the soil level and pack down. Do not cover top of rootball with dirt.
  • Water in thoroughly to remove air pockets.

STEP 4: Mulching and fertilizing

  • Cover the planting site with at least 2 inches of the mulch of your choice (pinestraw, cupress mulch,etc.)
  • High Phosphorus root stimulator fertilizers like Quick Start from Miracle Gro are great to use at time of planting.
  • When planting trees, a tree stake kit may be required to prevent the wind from blowing over or breaking our newly planted tree until it becomes established.

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Posted 2015-05-10T19:43:17+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL