Selecting Landscape Plants: Shade Trees
American sycamore or plane tree (Platanus occidentalis)
- Maximum height
- Relative growth rate
- Freedom from insect pests
- Freedom from disease problems
- Resistance to storm damage
- Will grow on poorly drained soil
- Will grow in hot, dry areas
- Easy to transplant
- Withstands city conditions
The most striking feature of the sycamore is its flaking bark that peels off to reveal the lighter-colored underbark. It is considered a dirty tree, as it is continuously dropping bark and twigs that need to be picked up. A twig blight that temporarily disfigures the foliage attacks sycamore almost every spring. It will seldom kill the tree, but it certainly reduces its value as an ornamental. Sycamore is a fast-growing tree that will reach an immense size. It is much too large for the average home grounds. It needs a deep, rich soil to develop properly.
If a sycamore is desired, the European species, London plane tree, or the Asiatic species, Oriental plane tree, is a much better choice than the native American species. They are resistant to the twig blight and do not reach as large a size.