Where to Find REAL Mexican Sycamore in Austin Area

bjb817November 10, 2013

I'm looking for a fast growing, yet quality shade tree to add to my front yard. After doing some research, I've decided I'd like to plant a Mexican Sycamore. My problem's been that I'm fairly certain that many of the trees labeled and being sold as Mexican Sycamore are actually the American variety.

It's my understanding that the true Mexican Sycamores have a darker green leaf with a whitish underside, where the American ones have a lighter green leaf with a more greenish underside. for example, the ones I saw at Lowes today match the description of the latter, despite being labeled as the former.

So am I right in my conspiracy theory, or is there just that much leaf variation among Mexican Sycamores? If I am right in my theory, does anyone know of a nursery or nurseries in the area that carry the real deal?

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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

Barton Springs Nursery is one we check with for this sort of thing when in town. Phone number is on their website linked below. One of several great nurseries in the Austin area, so you should be able to find one from a reliable source.

Mix-ups happen at big box stores (a lot?) and good nurseries (occasionally?). Wise to be cautious if your heart is set on a particular cultivar, color, stature, ... - especially if something doesn't look quite right. Hate finding out we've been sold the wrong plant after growing it for several months before it leafs out or years before it flowers or reveals it's mature size.

Here is a link that might be useful: Barton Springs Nursery

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 1:32PM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

Forgot to add that you may get a better response on your questions about the Mexican Sycamore leaves over on the GW trees forum. Also, the linked article includes a difference in the shape of the base of the leaves that may be a more reliable differentiator than color - at least on trees old enough to have their mature leaves.

Imagine the seedballs might put off some folks as with sweetgum, but otherwise looks like a very nice quick tree option for alkaline soils where it can survive the extreme lows.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Mexican Sycamore - Platanus mexicana

This post was edited by bostedo on Wed, Nov 13, 13 at 10:41

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 10:39AM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

If you want to avoid big box stores, I've seen MS trees at Natural Gardener's in west Austin.

Here is a link that might be useful: Natural Gardener

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 10:21AM
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bjb817

How could I have forgotten the Natural Gardener? That may make a good excuse to get out that way.

I'm not sure why, but it seems like the "true" ones I see planted around here are the larger, like 45g plus ones. I sure don't want to dig that big of hole!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 1:37PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

I just noticed that two of my neighbors on my street planted 30 or 45g MS in the their backyards. Ouch. I had to get boulders out of the ground in my backyard just to plant 1g trees! Man, that was hard work!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 10:14AM
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villandra

Is there any substantial difference between a Mexican sycamore and an American sycamore tree? From a shade standpoint they ought to be pretty similar. The leaves aren't systematically the same within varieties, and allegedly differ only by a lobe in the leaves.

The most important thing to remember when planting a tree in Austin is to water it regularly and deeply during its first few years of life or the drought will kill it, especially if there's a good reason why you are relying on it for shade.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 1:13PM
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