Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Watch Out For Common Springtime Sycamore Pests and Diseases

Homeowners that are lucky enough to own a mature American sycamore knows that these trees are a grand, hardy species that offers much to appreciate in a landscape. These excellent shade trees grow tall and strong even in harsh city environments, providing a spectacular display of foliage and characteristic painterly bark.

Ornamental benefits are only one reason that homeowners rightfully grieve the loss of a prized sycamore. This species is incredibly long lived (the second oldest in the world dates back to the 1700s) and easily become the familiar and comforting focal point of a landscape. 

Springtime can be a spectacular season for the American sycamore, but wet and rainy weather also bring on a whole slew of pests and diseases. Be on the lookout for the following top two threats and keep the number of a tree service professional or certified arborist handy! 

Adult Sycamore Leaf Beetle
Sycamore Leaf Beetle

Often identified by extreme defoliation, a severe infestation of the sycamore leaf beetle and can eventually lead to a reduction in tree strength and vitality. Studies conducted on sycamores in Alabama observed that newly hatched spring larvae consume the highest amount of foliage.

As the weather begins to warm, be on the watch for the bronze-colored adult beetles feeding on tender leaf veins especially on young or newly transplanted sycamores. 


Frequent rains and cool temperatures invite the highly unattractive fungal disease Anthracnose. This condition appears as small spots along the veins of the leaves. These spots can grow to become big ugly red, black, or brown patches – sometimes infecting and killing off small shoots and branches. Usually this fungus is not fatal, but can eventually cause defoliation and may need to receive treatment with a carefully chosen fungicide spray

Pay close attention to vulnerable American sycamores this spring – and be prepared to contact a tree professional if there is ever any doubt! Prevention, maintenance, and early treatment can save a homeowner a tremendous amount on tree removal services.

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