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How to Plant Sycamore Trees

By Cayden Conor ; Updated September 21, 2017

The sycamore tree is common in Zones 4 through 7 and is one of the largest deciduous trees on the east coast. It is often planted as a shade tree because its crown is so dense. When choosing a planting spot for a sycamore tree, make sure it has plenty of room to grow—it grows up to 100 feet in height and up to 60 feet wide (the crown)—and it is a very fast grower.

Choose a planting spot for the sycamore tree. It prefers full sun, but will survive in partial sun. Make sure there are no electric wires that will interfere with the tree.

Test the soil in the location of the tree. Testing kits can be purchased at any large home and garden store. The sycamore tree needs deep, rich soil if you want it to thrive, but it will tolerate dry soil (sandy, sandy loam) and wet and/or wet and compacted soil (clay). If you must amend the soil, do not amend more than half of the soil.

Dig a planting hole of the proper size. If the tree is balled and burlaped or in a pot, the planting hole needs to be as deep as the root ball and three times as wide as the root ball. If the tree is a bare root tree, make the planting hole as wide as the spread-out roots. If you look on the stem of the tree, you will see a mark where the sycamore tree is discolored, showing where it was planted previously. Make the depth to that mark. A bare root tree needs to be soaked in water for at least 8 hours prior to planting to ensure proper hydration.

Scarify the sides of the planting hole with a pitchfork. Fill the planting hole with water. Center the sycamore tree in the planting hole and backfill with soil. Create a watering ring around the perimeter of the planting hole. The watering ring should be about 3 inches in height, and should only be around the perimeter—not up to the tree. The watering ring diverts water to the outer roots. It can be leveled out after the first year.

Mulch the sycamore tree with at least 3 inches of compost or mulch (pulverized bark is common). Water the tree with at least an inch of water.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Pitchfork
  • Water
  • Mulch or compost


  • If the burlap is organic, it can be left on the root ball, as it will decompose and provide additional nutrients. If the burlap is synthetic, it must be removed, as it will not decompose.


About the Author


Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.