Sycamore leaves are reminiscent of maple leaves with more jagged serrations. Press the seeds gently into the prepared seed trays, no more than 1/8 inch deep. Sow one to three seeds about one-quarter inch below the soil and water gently, making sure not to wash away the seeds. No worries about raking them up! Sycamore trees produce spiky seed balls that measure 1” (2.5 cm) in diameter. As is, I’ve gathering up only a fraction of all the seed balls; countless more seeds now lie atop the garden beds and lawn. Coursing over the brittle brown grass, I fill three tall leaf bags full of fluff and set them against the side of the tool shed, hard by my pile. Initially, the sycamore seed balls have green color but they later change to brown. The seed balls appear on the tree in late fall or winter and fall to the ground in the spring. Woodland creatures and some waterfowl eat the seeds found inside sycamore balls. The insects feed on the undersides of the sycamore’s leaves. Continue to water for about two weeks until the seedlings emerge. While the sycamore lace bug’s damage is rarely serious, a heavy infestation can slow the tree’s growth. A sycamore seed ball with a few seeds falling out. Of course, the easiest solution would be for me to send off the bags of seed fluff to the yard waste dump with the collection of wind-blown branches and limbs I’ve collected over the winter. Aside from the scandalous unsightliness of so much windblown detritus, I worry whether the covering of seeds will choke off growth of the grass. Note there is another tree commonly known as sycamore: the sycamore maple, acer pseudoplatanus (false plane tree) that has a winged seed like a maple and is sometimes called sycamore plane or plane tree. Add to Likebox Wear a mask or respirator and gloves when removing the seeds from a seed ball. With its natural inclination to establish a sturdy trunk, it tends to have an aggressive root system, so be prepared to plant your sycamore at least 15 feet from your house or sidewalk. So there you have it, those “spiky balls that fall from trees” are Sycamore balls, and are basically seed pods that can be used for a variety of wonderful things, from composting rich soils to accessorizing your patio. I need to see the leaves this summer to confirm that, though. The spiky surface of a sycamore seed ball makes it ideal for creating a simple bird feeder. The fruit is composed of multiple achenes or dry individual one seeded fruits. How Can I Tell the Difference Between a Sapling Redbud or a River Birch Tree? I ‘think’ the leaves looked like the American Sycamore but I may even have seen different species of trees in different locations. The ball is not a single fruit itself but instead an agregate of many small seed-like fruits called achenes with fuzzy hair-like structures attached. 1 Locate a fruiting sycamore in mid-summer. Ann Pedtke has been writing about science and the environment since 2001. The seed heads of the sycamore disintegrate as their seeds are dispersed; the sweet gum seed capsule, on the other hand, has a woody structure, and the gum balls are quite persistent. The wood of sycamore is moderately hard, heavy, strong and resistant to shock. Squirrel at Mile Square Regional Park eating a green seed ball from a sycamore tree. Similar Images . This tree is also known as the American planetree or the buttonball tree, due to the brown, spiky seed balls it produces each year. The American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) is a fast-growing deciduous tree hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 4 through 9. On www.homeguides.sfgate.com, I read that “While sycamore seed balls can be a nuisance to clear away, they can also be put to a variety of practical uses,” from craft projects to, yes, compost: “Since sycamore seed balls are organic plant matter, they will decompose naturally over time. Choose a shallow growing tray, but one that’s deep enough to let the seed take root. I mowed the lawn today, the first Sunday of March. Select a planting site large enough to accommodate a full-grown sycamore tree. If you do not want the Sycamore balls to fall all over your yard or a driveway, they can be removed in the winter and allowed to dry so they can still be used for a variety of things. The sight of bare ground is at least a change from last winter, when snow covered the ground until nearly April. When the seed balls are dry, they will break open to reveal the small, tufted seeds. The most obvious role of a sycamore ball is to disperse the tree’s seeds. The plane can be identified by its globular heads of flowers and subsequent balls of seeds, which hang on long stalks from the twigs. Thousands of new, high … Rather than bagging them and throwing them away with the garbage, compost the seed balls so that their nutrients can be recycled to create rich new soil. If there are 3-5 seed pods, it is an Oriental planetree which has the seed pods hanging like beads. Then I look at a chart that I prepared that employs some statistics, detailed here. I check the gas tank to find it half-full, and worry whether the gas has gone bad. The fluffy seeds are so thick across the lawn that my across-the-street neighbor commented on it the other day; in fact it was he who suggested I haul out the mower and scarf it all up with the leaf catcher. I look up through the sycamore arching branches to see as many, if not more, seed balls wait to fall across my yard. The most obvious role of a sycamore ball is to disperse the tree’s seeds. 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