American sycamores grow from northern Florida into North Dakota and Minnesota, up to the Great Lakes and northern New York state. Along the Atlantic coast where winter temperatures are more moderate, they survive into Canada (zones 9 to 4). They can handle winter temperatures as low as -20°F.
Sycamores will tolerate a variety of soil types, as long as the soil is moist and reasonably well drained. They are not particularly drought tolerant and are often found in nature in bottomlands and at the side of rivers and streams. They do fine in neutral or even somewhat alkaline soil (pH 6.6 to 8.0). As long as they have enough moisture for their roots, sycamores can manage dry air, pollution, compacted soil and wind fairly well. For this reason they are popular as city trees. They prefer full sun, but will accept light shade.
Because sycamores have relatively shallow, fibrous root systems they transplant easily. Plant in either the spring or the fall. Choose young trees from 6 to 10 feet tall that are either in containers or have their roots and soil wrapped in burlap.
For more information see the file on Planting A Tree. For planting tools see Hand Tools For Digging and Planting in Yardener’s Tool Shed.