Seasons Don't Fear The Reaper: Sycamore Resurgence

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When it comes to our majestic “bone structure of the landscape” American planetrees (sycamores) and their hybrid collaboration with Oriental planetrees (London planetrees), the season will indeed be kind; don’t fear the reaper. As Joe Boggs indicated in bygl-alert node 1266 on May16, sycamore anthracnose is prominent this year due to cool, moist conditions during leaf expansion.  Joe cautioned that no-one should panic since trees readily recover from this disease. These planetrees do look pretty miserable right now, especially on our more susceptible native Platanus occidentalis, but Joe is in the know: amazingly these trees shall put out a new set of leaves and right themselves in say, a month from now.


eaf symptoms of sycamore anthracnose
Leaf symptoms of sycamore anthracnose, with blotchy discoloration along leaf veins.


Note tufts of sycamore leaves atop the trees
Notice that leaves of trees atop a sycamore are less affected by sycamore anthracnose due to better drying conditions from wind. Soon new leaves will develop below.


The sycamore anthracnose fungus overwinters on twigs of the tree and as Joe indicated, the fungus became active with cool, wet weather as planetree leaves emerge. Leaves blighted as they emerged and twigs died back. Many are still calling with concerns with how the trees still look, but the good news is that as new leaves emerge they are less susceptible and the weather is less cool, the drying “wind appeared” and…the tree shall recover. Though you may not remember this from the past, this really does happens in such growing seasons…again and again.  To channel another Pleurotus ostreatus cultish song “History shows again and again/How nature points out the folly of man…” Like fears of Godzilla, your concerns are imaginary. Though, if you must catharse, the latest version is in theaters right now.


Sycamore anthracnose
Sycamore anthracnose is easy to spot now, even viewed from a bridge afar, but soon all will be well.

Planetree in Central Park in NYC
Kenny Cochran, Pam Bennett, and Cathy Herms, youngsters all, embrace a regal old planetree.