The Q&A Archives: Re California Sycamore

Question: Last May I planted a California sycamore in the back yard. It lost its leaves in the late fall, but is now sprouting many new leaves. Unforntunately, I noticed after I planted it that some of the leaves were unusually brown. I was told that there is a desease attacking these trees at this time which causes this brown leaves syndrome.

What is the name of the desease and what can I do to either eliminate it or reduce its impact on the tree?

Thank you, Rex Mills

Answer: Sycamore (Platanus) is susceptible to several fungal diseases. Brown leaf spots are symptoms of these diseases, but entirely brown leaves are probably caused by some other sort of stress in the tree. Carefully inspect the foliage and look for black fruiting bodies (spores) on the undersides of affected leaves. If you find leaves with brown spots and black spores, it's a sign of a fungal disease. For positive identification of the disease, take a sample of the problem to your local Cooperative Extension office (phone 323-838-8330). The helpful folks at the Extension office will recommend some control measures. Good luck with your sycamore tree!

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