Sycamore Trees (Acer pseudoplatanus)

Sycamore Trees (Acer pseudoplatanus)

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Sycamore trees are a deciduous broadleaf tree native tree to central, eastern and southern Europe. Sycamore was probably introduced to the UK in the Middle Ages and is now a naturalised species.

Scientific name: Acer pseudoplatanus Family: Sapindaceae

The botanical name of the sycamore tree, Acer pseudoplatanus, means ‘like a plane tree’. Although sycamore is an Acer and not closely related to plants in the Platanus genus, the leaves are superficially similar.

Sycamore trees can grow to 35m and can live for 400 years. Sycamore bark is dark pink-grey and smooth when young, but becomes cracked and develops small plates with age. Sycamore twigs are pink-brown and hairless.

Leaves: palmate leaves measure 7-16cm and have five lobes. Leaf stalks of younger trees are characteristically red.

Flowers: small, green-yellow and hang in spikes, or ‘racemes’.

Fruits: after pollination by wind and insects, female sycamore flowers develop into distinctive winged fruits known as samaras.

Sycamore trees grow in almost any soil, but they prefer deep, rich soil that is moist but well-drained. Sycamore tree care is easy. Fertilize the tree every other year if it isn’t growing as fast as it should or the leaves are pale. Water young trees deeply to keep the soil from drying out. After the first couple of years, the tree withstands moderate drought.

Throughout the trees life, pruning should be an important part of any maintenance program for the tree. This will allow for the removal of any dead and/or diseased branches along with keeping the tree looking its best.