Even when disease severity is high due to unusually moist spring weather, sycamores are usually able to produce a vigorous set of leaves by late summer. As a result, chemical control is only necessary in limited circumstances. If a tree is very sick or has recently been killed by a storm, however, then more intensive measures may be needed to prevent the spread of infection.
Sycamores typically start shedding their leaves around October or November and won't grow any new ones until spring. Because this is such a long period without a break in the cycle, trees struggle to compete with other plants for sunlight and nutrients. This can lead to several problems including yellowing leaves and twigs, which are signs that your tree needs fertilizer or organic pesticides applied to its soil. The last thing you want to do is harm your tree by applying chemicals that will not go away once the season is over.
If you're asked to control sycamores during autumn cleanup, do so as soon as possible after harvesting crops such as apples, potatoes, and squash, which attract deer. Cut down healthy-looking branches up to about one-half inch in diameter at breast height (36 to 42 inches above ground level). Place the cut branches in a pile and cover with dirt or sand to protect them from freezing during cold seasons.
Sycamores can be pollarded to maintain a specific height and form a ball-shaped canopy. This is best done while the tree is young and should be done in the winter. Once this sort of pruning is completed, it must be repeated each year to keep the tree's shape and size. The cut ends of the branches should be covered with cork or duct tape until spring when they will grow new growth.
This sort of pruning is not recommended for older trees because it is difficult and sometimes impossible to repair broken limbs. Also, pollarding reduces the spread of the disease called sycamore lace bug, which can cause significant damage to the tree if not controlled. Finally, pollarding encourages more vigorous growth that may not be desirable in some situations (such as where there is limited space).
However, pollarding does have many advantages for the owner who wants a smaller tree but not a seedling. By removing all but one branch from a small tree, you can prevent it from producing seeds and therefore limit its population potential. This can also make the tree more manageable by reducing its overall weight by about 20%.
In addition, pollarding allows you to receive benefits such as improved light penetration and air circulation into the center of the tree without harming the seedlings or younger trees nearby. This can help promote greater growth for the entire group.
Sycamore trees are notorious for causing a slew of issues. It's a little untidy, losing a lot of leaves, seed balls, twigs, and bark strips. When the leaves and leaf stems are young, they have a hairy covering. Spring hairs can irritate the eyes, respiratory tract, and skin. Summer hairs develop into soft bristles that can scratch like a cat. Fall hairs turn brittle and cover the ground after the tree dies back for the season.
The messiness of sycamores is part of their charm and allure. They're popular with bird artists because of their distinctive shape and color. Their large, flat-topped branches make excellent materials for building nests. Sycamores are also useful for timber, which is why they are found in far-flung places such as Australia and New Zealand.
However, sycamores can be difficult to manage. Their large size makes them slow-growing and long-lived. This means they require frequent maintenance and attention if you want them to remain healthy and attractive. For example, dead or dying trees should be removed because they no longer provide any benefit. The wood inside the trunk may be valuable, so remove it when necessary. Otherwise, leave it alone so other trees will grow around it and help support the environment.
A sycamore's large size also makes them susceptible to disease and insects. These trees are prone to bacterial wilt, which is caused by contaminated soil or water.