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How deep Is the root system of a sycamore tree?

Updated February 08, 2019

Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) is a large shade tree, abundant Throughout the UK. It grows fast and lives long in moist lowlands. Its roots are vigorous enough to take out a pavement, but do not descend very far into the ground.

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Some varieties of sycamores grow to 30 m (100 feet) tall with a 21 m (70 foot) spread. Its bark is distinctive -- white and exfoliating -- while its broad crown offers dense shade. Like other quick-growing trees, the sycamore produces vigorous surface roots.


Sycamore is a common tree in the UK, found in woodlands and gardens. It serves better in the country than the city, as its shallow, aggressive root system mandates planting at least 3.6 m (12 feet) from a pavement.

Root system

The sycamore is a "windfirm" tree. Its widespread, strongly branched root system keeps it firmly anchored in the soil. The majority of its roots are found no deeper than about 60 cm (a few feet) from the surface of the soil.

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About the Author

Teo Spengler

From Alaska to California, from France's Basque Country to Mexico's Pacific Coast, Teo Spengler has dug the soil, planted seeds and helped trees, flowers and veggies thrive. World traveler, professional writer and consummate gardener, Spengler earned a BA from U.C. Santa Cruz, a law degree from Berkeley's Boalt Hall, and an MA and MFA from San Francisco State. She currently divides her life between San Francisco and southwestern France.

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