The American sycamore is a tree native to Indiana that commonly grows next to streams and rivers. This tree can get quite large. It has a unique bark pattern of white with green and gray patches that distinguishes it from other trees. This is one of the reasons that it is commonly planted as a shade tree in our yards.
This spring you may have noticed that the sycamore trees have very few leaves on them while all the other trees fully leafed out. This is due to a disease called sycamore anthracnose. This is caused by a fungus that attacks the leaves of the sycamore trees. This fungus does well in cool wet conditions. All of the rain that we have had this spring has created ideal conditions for this disease. This disease has been killing the leaves just as they have started to grow. This disease is pretty common with sycamores, and it can even infect and kill some branches. That is why you often have dead branches falling off of these trees. Although this condition can look serious, the tree’s health is normally not affected by this disease. When things dry out the tree will grow more leaves. It is possible to treat the trees to prevent the development of the disease. To treat it, you would have to spray all the foliage in the spring. This can be difficult on large trees, and the costs often do not justify treatment.
Just give the tree a few weeks and the trees will be back to normal. If you have any tree questions, feel free to contact our Ag and Natural Resources Educator, Phil Woolery, who is a certified arborist. He can be reached at email@example.com or 574-772-9141.