Plants grow best in moist, deep, rich well-drained soil in full sun. Does not tolerate shady sites. Soil pH adaptable, moderately salt tolerant Do not grow sycamore near septic fields.
An American sycamore tree can often be easily distinguished from other trees by its mottled bark which flakes off in great irregular masses, leaving the surface mottled and gray, greenish-white and brown. The bark of all trees has to yield to a growing trunk by stretching, splitting, or infilling. The sycamore shows the process more openly than many other trees. The explanation is found in the rigid texture of the bark tissue which lacks the elasticity of the bark of some other trees, so it is incapable of stretching to accommodate the growth of the wood underneath, so the tree sloughs it off. A sycamore can grow to massive proportions, typically reaching up to 30 to 40 m (98 to 131 ft) high and 1.5 to 2 m (4.9 to 6.6 ft) in diameter when grown in deep soils.