- Author: Nancy Forrest
Well I've been so busy planting flowers and a vegetable garden, I'm sad to say I didn't notice my American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) tree was having issues. Specifically, the leaves would curl and die, however within a few days new ones would replace them. After, doing some research, I found many problems are associated with sycamore trees. They're fairly messy, shedding tons of leaves, seed balls, twigs, and strips of bark.[i]
I discovered that there are 3 types of diseases that the tree is susceptible to:
- Anthracnose. The most serious disease affecting sycamores, the fungal disease anthracnose, typically occurs during periods of cool, wet weather. This sycamore disease results in extensive defoliation, shoot dieback, and twig death. Often confused with frost damage, signs of sycamore anthracnose include brown areas on leaves and canker on the trunk and main branches.
- Powdery Mildew. If grown in shady, wet areas, powdery mildew may affect new growth on sycamore trees. ... Occurring in shady areas that have high humidity, powdery mildew looks like circular patches of grayish-white material (spores) on twigs and leaves. The disease can cause leaves to drop and can stunt growth.
- Bacterial Leaf Scorch. Insects such as leafhoppers transmit bacterial leaf scorch to sycamore trees after feeding on the xylem fluid of host plants.
Thankfully, none of these was the problem. To my surprise what I thought was a problem was just a common trait of sycamore trees. My poor Sycamore is not poor after all. As a matter of fact, the seed balls that fall have other uses, such as making holiday decorations (wreaths, garland, and tree ornaments). Which if you happened to come to our wreath making workshop they'll be available for use. You can roll them in a mixture that will allow seeds to stick to them and hung outdoors to feed birds in the winter, the seeds can be used to start a new tree as Sycamores grow quickly and provide shade if needed.