Caring for Sycamore Trees in North Texas

Date September 02, 2021

Author TreeNewal Staff

Sycamore trees are beloved for their impressive size and regal appearance. These beautiful shade trees are one of the largest deciduous trees in North America, and in Texas, they can reach more than 150 feet tall in the right conditions. If you have one of these stately trees on your property or are thinking about planting one, here’s what you need to know about keeping them healthy and boosting their natural beauty.

Overview of Sycamore trees

In North Texas, the most common Sycamore trees are American Sycamores and Mexican Sycamores. The Mexican Sycamore is smaller than the American Sycamore, so it is sometimes used as an ornamental tree in North Texas. They both have large, palmately-veined leaves with 3 to 5 main veins that branch out and go all the way to the tips of a wide lobe. The leaf edge has coarse teeth between the lobes, although the leaves of Mexican Sycamores have fewer teeth and a silvery underside. The trees produce a one-inch spherical fruit ball, which breaks into individual nutlets in the early spring. The nutlets have fine hairs that help them catch the wind. Although their fruit can be a bit of a nuisance, these trees have a strong, stately figure that many property owners and homeowners in North Texas love. People also enjoy the tree’s attractive bark, which is smooth and falls off in irregular patches to reveal the younger, nearly-white bark underneath.

Tips for caring for your Sycamore trees:

Sycamore trees are fast-growing trees that are relatively tolerant of harsh environmental conditions. However, like all trees, they have their preferences and things that make them easier to manage for homeowners. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Choose the right location — These trees are large and have messy, invasive roots that tend to stay close to the surface, so you’ll need to make sure they’re planted in the right location to protect your tree and your yard. They also prefer direct sun, so keep that in mind when choosing a location for planting Lace bugs.
  • Watering needs — The watering needs of Sycamore trees are low to normal, and Mexican Sycamore trees are even known to be drought tolerant. However, as with all trees, you should monitor their health throughout the year to make sure they don’t need some supplemental watering to get them through periods of extreme heat or drought.
  • Preferred soil conditions — American Sycamore trees can survive in various soil conditions, but they tend to prefer rich, well-drained soils. Mexican Sycamore trees prefer dry, rocky, alkaline soils, although they thrive in moist soils.

Common issues for Sycamore trees

Like all living things, trees sometimes get sick. Every tree has a list of pests and tree diseases that it’s most susceptible to. American Sycamores are known to be especially vulnerable to pests and diseases. In contrast, Mexican Sycamores are more pest and disease resistant, which is why some tree experts in North Texas recommend them over the American Sycamore. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Lace bugs — Sycamore lace bugs are one of the 140 species of lace bugs in North America. You’ll recognize lace bugs by their flat, lacy wings. They have needle-like mouthparts, which they use to pierce the underside of leaves and feed on their juices, creating chlorosis in a stippling pattern. Lace bugs are not the only tree pests that make a stippling pattern on leaves, so the pattern alone isn’t enough to diagnose a lace bug infestation. However, they are the only pests that also excrete dark tar-like spots on the underside of the leaves. You might also be able to spot lace bugs at certain points in the lace bug life cycle, such as when the eggs are clustered around the leaf’s midrib. Or you might be able to spot the dark, wingless lace bug nymphs. Although most lace bug damage isn’t typically serious enough to be fatal to your trees or shrubs, lace bug infestations can weaken your Sycamore trees and cause premature leaf drop. You can take steps towards controlling lace bug populations, so if you think your tree has a lace bug problem, reach out to a certified arborist for assistance.
  • Bacterial Leaf Scorch — Mexican Sycamores tend to be more resistant to Bacterial Leaf Scorch, one of the things that plague American Sycamore trees in North Texas. Bacterial Leaf Scorch is a disease that causes the premature browning of leaves. It’s caused by nutritionally demanding bacteria that invade the tissues that conduct water and nutrients. Symptoms include premature browning of leaves, which worsens as the year continues. Browning begins with the older leaves near the tree’s center and moves outwards towards the younger leaves. Some brown leaves may drop prematurely. In Sycamore trees, this disease typically develops in mid to late summer. It will continue year after year and get progressively worse. It can eventually kill the tree. If you notice symptoms of Sycamore Leaf Scorch, you should contact a tree care service immediately.
  • Anthracnose infection — American Sycamore trees are especially susceptible to this fungal disease, which attacks them during cool, wet weather. An anthracnose is a group of tree diseases that are specific to the tree they infect. Sycamore Anthracnose stunts the tree’s ability to grow and leaf out in the spring. You might also notice angular leaf spots or blotches on the tree’s foliage. Anthracnose is caused by spores produced from the fruiting bodies that over-winter in the tree’s diseased debris. At the same time your Ash trees bud in the spring, the spores are produced and released into the air, re-infecting the host tree and possibly finding other nearby trees to infect as well. Once the disease finds a host, it will spread rapidly through it. If left untreated, it will weaken the tree and eventually kill it or make it vulnerable to attacks by other more dangerous diseases, pests, or damage. Contact a Dallas-Fort Worth tree doctor as soon as possible if you notice signs of Sycamore Anthracnose on your North Texas trees.

Do you have questions about your Sycamore tree? TreeNewal’s ISA Certified Arborists can help!

If you have questions or concerns about caring for your Sycamore tree, TreeNewal is a certified arborist tree service that’s ready and equipped to handle your needs. We have multiple ISA Certified Arborists on staff and a team of highly qualified and specialized tree care experts, each of whom can visit your property to assess your tree’s health and determine a comprehensive plan that’s customized to your yard soil and landscaping. If you want to work with an experienced and rigorously trained tree care specialist, our team of tree doctors and tree surgeons are the best in the business. We offer expert tree care services such as pest and disease control, tree trimming and pruning, root aeration, tree removal, stump removal, and much more. We care deeply about tree health care and protecting your Sycamore trees from disease, pests, fungus, and any other ailments. For more information about our tree care services, go to our website at To set up an appointment, call us at tel:(817) 592-6846.

To learn more about Caring for Sycamore Trees in North Texas, TX, call our Argyle and Southlake-based teams

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