Pinchot Sycamore, the Amazing Sycamore.

The Pinchot Sycamore is a historic tree in Simsbury, Connecticut. The tree is an American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), and it is the largest tree in the state. Also, it is one of the oldest living trees in America. 1

The Pinchot Sycamore got named after Gifford Pinchot. He was the first Chief of the U.S. Forest Service from 1905 to 1910 and from 1910 to 1912. He was also a conservationist who developed the first forestry school in the United States at Cornell University in 1898. Also, he served as President Theodore Roosevelt’s chief advisor during his administration on conservation policy implementation in America’s public lands.

In this post, you will learn about this historical tree.


Pinchot Sycamore Growth Rate

The growth rate keeps increasing over time, with the average growth rate being 2 inches per year. This tree gets considered to be a slow grower since maturing.

The Life Span of the Pinchot Sycamore

Some people believe that this estimate may be off by as 100 years or more. The Pinchot Sycamore is a tree with a life span of about 300 years. It may live up to 300 years in good conditions.

The Pinchot Sycamore is an American sycamore. Let’s look at factors that can affect the lifespan of an American sycamore. They include:

  • Drought
  • Insects
  • Fungal Diseases


The American sycamore grows best in moist soils and plenty of rain. Without these conditions, the tree may suffer from drought stress. If a tree gets stressed by drought, its leaves will turn yellow or brown prematurely and drop off.


Insects such as aphids, mites, and leaf miners can infest American sycamores, causing damage to the tree’s leaves and trunk. These insects suck sap from the leaves and stems of a tree, which causes them to die back. They also feed on young shoots at their base or leaf buds on branches above them. Aphids also spread fungal diseases that infect the leaves of a tree and cause them to turn yellow or brown prematurely before dropping off altogether.

Fungal Diseases

Leaf spots come from fungi that attack leaves or enter wounds in the bark. They grow under the surface until they reach an opening into healthy tissue, where they produce fruiting bodies (spores). It can happen when twigs break off during storms or heavy winds.

Heights of the Pinchot Sycamore

It measures 25 feet (7.6 m) in circumference at its base and is about 100 feet (30 m) tall. The trunk has a diameter of 8 feet (2.4 m). Its canopy covers nearly half an acre (0.2 ha).

The Flowering of the Pinchot Sycamore

In late May or early June, the Pinchot Sycamore blooms. These little yellowish-green flowers have five petals each. They form clumps at the ends of lengthy stalks.

Uses of the Pinchot Sycamore

There are many ways that people can benefit from this tree.

  • People can use the fallen branches as firewood or sell them to other people who want to use them for firewood.
  • Some people even make furniture out of the fallen branches. The wood is hard and durable.
  • Some people also use the tree’s leaves to make tea.
  • It serves as a shade and ornamental tree.

Ensure you do not cause damage to the tree. Also, do not interfere with other people’s enjoyment of the park.

The Root System of the Pinchot Sycamore

The root system of the Pinchot Sycamore grows deep and wide. It can extend over 100 feet (30 m) from the trunk, and its roots can be 6 inches (15 cm) thick! The primary root system will grow 4-5 feet (1-1.5 m) away from the trunk in all directions. But it will also have many smaller secondary roots that spread out even farther from the primary root system.

The Pinchot Sycamore has a taproot system with a large central taproot that branches off into smaller roots later on down its length. The secondary roots are also often branched off from these main taproots at various points along their length. This arrangement helps transfer nutrients throughout the tree and provides stability against strong winds and storms.

Pests and Threats of the Pinchot Sycamore

Common pests and threats to American sycamore include:

  • Aphids
  • Powdery Mildew
  • Beech Bark Disease


Aphids are tiny insects that feed on plants by sucking out their sap. They can be green, black, or brown in color, depending on the type of aphid they are. These bugs affect the leaves, trunk, branches, and roots. Aphids feed on the sticky sap that comes out of wounds on trees or when they’re feeding on plant foliage.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungus that causes white patches to form on both sides of the leaves, stems, and branches.

Beech Bark Disease

It comes from a fungus that infects healthy trees through other infected insects or root decay. The fungus will spread through the tree’s vascular system, killing it from the inside out.

Barks of the Pinchot Sycamore

The Pinchot Sycamore is a giant tree with large, thick, brownish-black plate bark that is rough and scaly. The bark on this tree is hard to cut or peel off with a knife or other sharp object. The bark is also brownish-black in color, which gives it an antique look that many people would like to have on their walls or furniture.

Its bark has dead cork cells filled with air pockets that help protect the inner layers of wood from drying out too quickly during dry seasons or from freezing during cold winters.

Fruits of the Pinchot Sycamore

The fruits are green when they ripen, turning brown as they dry. They are about an inch long and can be brown, gray, or tan with a bumpy surface when mature. The fruit comes out in fall and winter. It falls on the ground beneath the trees or the branches.

The seeds are small and oval in shape, measuring about 6 mm (0.24 in) long by 4 mm (0.16 in) wide. They also have ridges on their surface. The seeds get dispersed by animals who eat them. Learn about the method of dispersal for the seeds of sycamore trees.

Woods of the Pinchot Sycamore

The wood of the Pinchot Sycamore has good dimensional stability and excellent steam bending characteristics. People have used fallen parts of it to make a guitar, firewood, and other things.

Sycamore maple is often mistaken for sycamore Platanus. Read on the post about the sycamore maple to know why.

Citations Used in this Article

  1. Pinchot Sycamore (