How to Cut Back a Huge Sycamore

Updated February 21, 2017

The American Sycamore tree (Platanus occidentalis) is native to the Eastern U.S. and northern Mexico. Sycamore trees can grow from 70 to 100 feet tall, making them huge in the home landscape. They also live for a long period of time and grow relatively quickly. These trees can also handle temperatures down to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Pruning a sycamore tree can keep the growth in check. Exercise caution when pruning a large sycamore tree as the branches will be very heavy.

Cut off any dead, damaged or diseased branches from the sycamore tree with the pruning saw. Cut the branch off right at the branch collar -- the bump where the branch meets the tree.

Remove any crossing branches from the sycamore tree. Cut the branches off at the branch collar with the pruning saw.

Prune out any branches with weak angles -- less than 45 degrees. Cut the branches out with the pruning saw at the branch collar.

Cut back any overly long branches on the sycamore tree. Cut the branches ΒΌ inch before a bud.


Prune the sycamore tree in the late winter to early spring.


Avoid topping the sycamore tree or cutting back more than 30 per cent of the tree's crown.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning saw
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About the Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for many online publications. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.