Sycamore Plant Bug Damage Leaf

Signs that Your Sycamore Tree is Sick: 3 Common Sycamore Tree Problems

Has your sycamore tree been looking sickly? Are you wondering what the problem could be? The truth is that sycamore trees suffer from a variety of problems. Here are three of the most common:

You’ll learn how to identify and treat these problems in this post.

Sycamore Anthracnose: A Nasty Tree Fungus

Your sycamore tree is particularly susceptible to anthracnose—a fungus that turns leaves black and brown in summer. This can cause leaves to fall off the tree too early. In severe cases, almost all of the tree’s foliage dies very quickly. Sycamore trees usually survive the disease and regrow their leaves, but anthracnose may eventually cause abnormal growth on the tree.

Because anthracnose prefers damp, cool conditions, the disease generally starts to show on sycamore leaves in the spring. In addition to the damage that shows on the tree leaves, anthracnose may cause cankers (dead bark that looks like a sore) and black fungal growths on branches.

How to Treat Sycamore Anthracnose

The fungus survives in fallen leaves in the winter, and spores spread to other trees through wind and rain. One way to help prevent the spread of the fungus is to thoroughly dispose of dead leaves. Here are a few other ways to help treat the disease:

  • Prune off infected, dead branches
  • Spray a fungicide to prevent the leaves from becoming infected
  • Plant trees that are resistant to the disease

Leaf disease control sprays can effectively treat anthracnose in leaves; however, once the disease spreads to the branches of the tree, expensive tree injections are the best way to treat it. Even so, tree injections take time and are not always effective, so many people choose to only treat their expensive trees. Stewart’s certified arborists are qualified to treat sycamore trees with injections.

Sycamore Plant Bug: What’s Munching on Your Tree Leaves

Sycamore Plant Bug
Sycamore Plant Bug

Another nasty problem your sycamore could be suffering from is the sycamore plant bug. The sycamore plant bug is yellowish-brown with white wings.

Female sycamore plant bugs embed their eggs in the trunk of the tree, where they stay until they hatch in the spring. After hatching, sycamore plant bug larvae feed on tree leaves, creating holes that eventually cause the leaves to look skeletonized and fall off the tree early.

Like their larvae, adult plant bugs also feed on sycamore tree leaves and cause similar damage to foliage. Usually, plant bugs go through only one generation per year, and adults are present throughout the summer.

The sycamore plant bug generally does not cause serious permanent damage; the damage is mainly surface level, so you might choose to live with it. However, large yearly infestations combined with drought conditions can cause deadly damage to your tree, so watch your tree carefully!

If you choose to treat for sycamore plant bug, consider doing the following:

  • Pressure spray the tree with water to remove larvae (this is a mild solution—insect control sprays are more effective)
  • Have a tree service company like Stewart’s treat the tree to help get rid of plant bug

Sycamore Scale: The Stubborn Tree Pest

Your sycamore might not be struggling with anthracnose or plant bug, but it could be suffering from something worse: sycamore scale.

Sycamore scale bugs are tiny pests that feed on sap from leaves and branches. They’re so small that they usually need to be seen under a microscope.

Identifying Sycamore Scale

Some types of scale, called soft scales, form an exoskeleton that protects them from insect control sprays. Removing this type of shell from the tree will kill the scale. Soft scales simply look like bumps on branches.

Other types of scale bugs (called armored scales) form hard shells around their bodies to protect themselves from insect control sprays and other threats. They survive beneath this shell in the winter; this is also where females lay their eggs. Unlike soft scale, armored scale bugs can’t be killed simply by removing their hard shell.

Treating Sycamore Scale

Before scale bugs are fully developed and able to form a protective shell, they go through a vulnerable crawler stage. Insect control sprays can effectively kill scale bugs at this stage.

Insect control sprays are much less effective once the protective shell has been formed, but scale can effectively be treated with a dormant oil spray instead of an insect spray at this stage. Arborists from Stewart’s Tree Service treat sycamore trees with top quality products to help get rid of scale.



Stewart’s professional tree spraying programs are tailored to the needs of your trees. Upon request, our certified arborists will inspect your trees and give you a free service estimate. Call or text 801-226-2261 and ask to speak with one of our tree specialists today!