Problems With Sycamore Trees in Northern Ohio

The sycamore tree, also known as the American sycamore, is considered one of the most massive trees (by circumference) in the eastern part of the country. Ashland County in northern Ohio boasts the largest sycamore tree in the state, with a circumference of more than 48 feet, according to the Ohio Public Library Information Network. Sycamore trees are identifiable by their white bark and are often found along Ohio's streams, wetlands, city parks and on city streets. Sycamores in northern Ohio and other regions are prone to fungus infections and pest infestation.


The fungus anthracnose is the biggest threat to northern Ohio sycamore trees, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The disease presents first as wilt on young leaves, whereas older leaves turn brown. The ends of stems and twigs die, and cankers eventually develop on the trunk and branches. Fungicide can treat the condition and should be applied as soon as possible after the onset of the disease.

Sycamore Lace Bugs

Northern Ohio's sycamore trees are also prone to attack from the sycamore lace bug, which eats the undersides of leaves, eventually killing them. If the attack is severe, the tree can be defoliated late in the season. In extreme cases and combined with other causes, such as stress and severe weather, the tree can die. Heavy damage from the bug is linked to dry weather. Treatment methods include introducing natural predators to control the bug, spraying the leaves with water to dislodge bugs and applying insecticide in the spring.

Japanese Beetles

Another pest that attacks northern Ohio sycamore trees is the Japanese beetle. Adult beetles emerge in late June and July and eat the tree's leaves, much like the sycamore lace bug. A combination of methods is used to control the beetle, including spraying insecticide and using pheromone bait to trap the bugs. Ohio State University Extension calls the Japanese beetle "the most abundant and important landscape pest in Ohio."

Keywords: sycamore tree problems, sycamore tree pests, sycamore tree diseases

About this Author

Caroline Fritz has over 17 years of writing and editing experience, mainly for publications in Northwest Ohio. She is currently an editor for a national technical magazine focusing on the construction industry. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH.