How Do You Keep a Sycamore Tree Healthy? Learn 5 Care Tips.

A sycamore tree is a pretty addition to any home landscape. They provide shade, especially in the hot summer months. Also, they give an encompassing sense of security. In this post, you will learn how to plant a small sycamore tree and tips when caring for it.


How Do You Plant a Small Sycamore Tree?

When choosing a site for growing a tree, you should consider the soil and water supply. Below is how to plant a small sycamore tree.

  • Start by digging a hole.
  • Remove the tree from its container and place it in the hole.
  • Before placing the tree in the hole, remove all wrapping and trim any crusty soil from the roots. Prune off any broken or damaged roots.
  • If required, you can also cut back part of the top growth.
  • Then spread the roots well around the hole and fill it with soil.
  • Tamp down the dirt around the trunk to plant the tree in position.
  • During dry weather, continue to water your new tree every day or two until it becomes established in its new environment.
  • Once you have finished, build up a berm around the outside edge of your root system so that water will drain into it when watering your plant. It should be at least 6 inches tall and 8 inches wide.

How to Examine the Soil

The soil is the most important factor when planting a tree. Make sure it is not too sandy and has good drainage.

You can check this by taking a handful of the topsoil and squeezing it into a ball. If it holds together, there is enough clay content to hold water. If it falls apart with ease, there is not enough clay content.

How to Improve the Soil

If you have heavy clay soil or very sandy soil, you need to improve your soil. You improve it by mixing it with compost or other organic matter before planting.

Learn more about almond trees if you are considering other trees.

How Deep Do You Plant a Sycamore Tree?

Dig a hole as deep as your root ball and twice as wide. If you are unsure of the depth, place the tree into the hole so that the top of the root ball is a little higher than ground level but no more than one inch higher.

Do not plant too deep. If you do, your sycamore will have trouble sprouting new growth and could suffer from rot or disease.

How Do You Take Care of a Mature Sycamore Tree?

Mature sycamore trees are hardy, they can withstand poor weather conditions and urban pollution. As a result, the tree does not need much care.

You can take care of your sycamore tree by:

  • Watering
  • Fertilizing
  • Pruning


Promote healthy growth by watering the sycamore during dry periods. Apply about 10 gallons of water per week when rainfall is lacking during the summer months. Watering should be around the base, soaking the soil well and avoiding standing water. It is vital not to water fast, which allows the soil to absorb it better.


Fertilize every year in early spring before new growth begins. Use a fertilizer made especially for trees, such as 10-10-10, following label directions for application rates and timing to avoid overfeeding or underfeeding your tree.

While many experts recommend applying fertilizer in early spring, autumn is an ideal time to fertilize a mature sycamore. Sycamores produce large leaves and grow relatively fast, so they need nutrients to help them maintain strong growth. Many homeowners also find it more convenient to fertilize a mature tree at home rather than on a lawn mower during spring. In addition to fertilizer, you’ll need a garden hose that is long enough to reach all areas of your mature tree’s canopy.


Prune your mature sycamore each year, starting with dead branches. Pruning keeps it from becoming diseased or damaged.

When it comes to pruning mature trees, arborists generally follow three primary rules: keep major branches and trunks thick, keep minor branches thin, and make all cuts clean. Thick branches are better able to support large loads of foliage; thin ones should be removed whenever possible because they’re more susceptible to disease. The goal when pruning is not just to maintain health but also to improve symmetry and promote branching vigor.

Pruning your sycamores is best done during dormancy, in late winter or early spring when temperatures are cool. The bark on older trees can be especially thin at that time of year, and if you see any sign of a bug infestation it’s best to wait until warmer weather returns to take care of it. Thin branches should be removed completely; larger ones can be cut flush against a branch collar or into another branch, preferably one from which you’ve already removed smaller branches.

Should I Fertilize My Sycamore Tree?

Although it is not necessary to fertilize a sycamore tree, there are definite benefits. It is best to fertilize young trees. Also, older trees can benefit from fertilizer. In areas where the soil does not provide adequate nutrition for a sycamore tree, fertilizer can help the tree grow fast and provide more shade. In places with nutrient-rich soil, fertilizer can help a sycamore tree grow faster, which means the tree will provide more shade sooner.

Sycamore trees can grow in different soil types and do not need fertilizing. But, if you want your tree to grow fast or if you want it to provide more leaves earlier in the year, it can be helpful to use fertilizer on your sycamore tree. Using fertilizer on your sycamore tree can help it grow up to 2 feet per year. This growth rate is much greater than the natural growth rate of around 8 inches per year.

How Do You Keep a Sycamore Tree Healthy?

Here are some tips for keeping a healthy sycamore tree.

Tip 1

Check your sycamore tree every day to ensure it has not gotten infested with pests. You can wash away aphids and spiders with a strong spray of water. Sycamores are also susceptible to aphid-transmitted diseases such as leaf scorch, aster yellows, mosaic virus, and bacterial leaf spot. If you see insects or suspect a health challenge, consult your local nurseryman or gardener for specific treatments for your region.

Tip 2

Prune your sycamore tree in winter or early spring before its new growth. Winter is a good time of year because there are no leaves on the branches to get in the way of cutting. Also, pruning stimulates new growth that will be lush and healthy in the springtime.

Tip 3

Water your sycamore tree deeply once a week if there is no rain in your area during the growing season.

Tip 4

Give it plenty of space so that it has room to grow. Giving it space is vital if you are planting it close to your house. As the tree ages, it will increase in size than other trees. So, ensure that it does not have anything around it that could get harmed when the branches get too large.

Tip 5

Spread mulch around the base to conserve moisture and keep weeds away from the tree. Keep it two inches away from the trunk to prevent rot or diseases from forming.

What do you “Feed” a Sycamore Tree?

If you want your tree to thrive, you need to feed it well. Sycamores are hardy trees, but they need regular feeding to stay healthy by using:

  • Fertilizer
  • Water


You can fertilize your tree yourself or hire a professional arborist to do it for you. But if you choose to fertilize yourself, make sure you know what type of fertilizer your tree needs and when you should apply it. Use a fertilizer once a year, at the beginning of the spring.


Sycamores also need regular watering. Sycamore trees need at least 3 inches of water a week until their root systems get established in the soil. As the tree ages, they will need less water because their roots will be more established.

How Often Should a Sycamore Tree Be Trimmed?

The best time for trimming (pruning) a sycamore is during the winter months when there are no leaves on the branches. Trimming sycamores in the spring or summer will encourage new growth, and this new growth will not have time to harden before cooler weather comes. It can cause damage to the newly-formed buds and twigs.

It is vital to trim your sycamore tree often to keep it neat. Pruning year by year will allow you to keep your tree looking its best. It also prevents overgrowth that could result in limb breakage due to heavy snow or ice accumulations during the winter months.

Although the exact amount of pruning needed depends on how fast they grow in their location and how much space you have. Most experts recommend removing one-third of all branches each year until you achieve the desired goal.

It ensures that there will still be enough foliage leftover from previous growths. Doing this avoids compromising the health of your tree with too much trim.

How Much Does it Cost to Prune a Sycamore Tree?

The average cost of pruning a sycamore tree is between $200 and $400. Expect more costs of around $1,000+ if different tree parts need repair. Many factors affect how much it costs to prune a sycamore tree. 1

Here are some of these factors:

  • Size of the tree.
  • The location of the tree.
  • Condition and health of the tree.
  • Amount of pruning it needs.
  • Sycamore tree removal cost.

Is Sycamore Poisonous to Humans?

The sycamore tree is not considered toxic or poisonous to humans or animals. But, its leaves, bark, and seeds contain minute amounts of chemicals that can cause vomiting or a skin rash if ingested in plenty of portions.

Symptoms of Poisoning

Small children sometimes eat the seeds inside the brown ball-shaped fruit of the sycamore tree. Although these fruits are not known to be toxic when digested, they may cause nausea and vomiting if swallowed. Also, some people may develop contact dermatitis if they handle these fruits before washing their hands with soap and water.

These symptoms do not occur in everyone who ingests these parts of the sycamore tree. Anyone who develops symptoms should consult a doctor fast.

Learn about the root system of sycamore trees and whether they are invasive.

Are Sycamore Trees Good for Anything?

The sycamore is beneficial for many things, including:

  • It provides shade in summer and lets sunlight through in winter.
  • It casts a dappled shadow, which benefits ground cover plants that struggle to thrive in intense shade, such as grass.
  • Sycamore lumber helps make woodenware items such as bowls, spoons, and cutting boards.
  • It is resistant to air pollution, so it is a good choice if your home.
  • Their leaves also provide food for caterpillars of several butterfly species, including mourning cloaks and red admirals.
  • Sycamores provide shade for homes and allow homeowners to enjoy outdoor activities on hot summer days.

Learn more about the American sycamore.

Citations Used in this Article

  1. How much does it cost to cut down a sycamore tree? (