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Tuesday - August 11, 2009

From: Briarcliff, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Mexican sycamore for Briarcliff, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to plant a sycamore in my yard. I have searched and do not see info on the Mexican sycamore on this website. Is this not recommended in Central Texas for planting? I cannot find the American sycamore in nurseries in my area and it sounds like the Mexican sycamore is slightly more drought tolerant.

ANSWER:

According to this Texas Forest Service website there is a Platanus mexicana, which is native to Central Mexico and South America and therefore would not appear on our website. 

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore), found on our website,  would be a more satisfactory choice. The USDA Plant Profile on this plant shows it growing in the area of Travis County.  This tree would be more comfortable in this area than some of the other species of Platanus. Occidentalis is usually the botanical term used for "western." There could be several reasons for your being unable to locate this tree. The first reason is this is not the time to be planting a tree in Central Texas. Even if our temperatures were "normal" summer temperatures and we were not gripped in an extreme drought and heat wave, this is the wrong time to plant nearly anything, and especially woody plants. 

Go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and  landscape and environmental consultants in your general area. You could contact them now, inquire if they will be stocking or can order the tree you want, and emphasize that you want the species occidentalis. Make it clear that you don't want it until probably December, when the tree will be semi-dormant and the temperatures will hopefully be more benign. Don't let anyone talk you into buying a tree they happen to have in the nursery now. It will have been growing in a sheltered atmosphere and, even so, is probably already stressed by our weather. Insist on a tree that is as freshly-dug as possible, and get it in the ground as soon as you bring it home from the nursery. Prepare the soil and the hole for the tree in advance, and give it deep watering for several weeks, unless we are suddenly having a whole lot of rain, which isn't likely, even in December. 


Platanus occidentalis

Platanus occidentalis

Platanus occidentalis

Platanus occidentalis

 

 

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