It’s a year since I began the monthly profile of my American sycamore, Platanus occidentalis. A year ago, blue sky prevailed in the first photos of the sycamore and the sycamore sparkled in sunshine. Today, like much of this past week, is gray, with the addition of wet.
The sycamore drips.
This year was a (relatively) wet one here in Central Texas and also more moderate in temperatures than the previous year or so. As a result, most of the leaves remain on my sycamore, (in contrast to many seasons, by no means all), where the tree loses upwards to one-third of its leaves due to summer’s heat and seasonal drought.
Sycamore leaves have fallen to the ground,
…but blanketing of the garden,
…and of work spaces,
…has barely begun. For now, the smattering of discarded foliage is a mere suggestion of the colossal coverage that is in the gardens’, and therefore, the gardener’s, near future. Multitudes of the sturdy, and if I might suggest, awkward, leaves will drop in the next two months.That means plenty of raking in December and early January.
My back aches just thinking about it.
I’ll add some leaves directly my compost bin and shred some others for the garden and compost bin, but most will end up in my yard-waste bins, picked up weekly by the diligent sanitation workers of the City of Austin.
Will the rejected leaves end up in the municipal landfill? No, they won’t–and that’s a good thing. The leaves, along with tons of other “yard waste” will be composted with biosolids from city sewage treatment, cooked and cured into an excellent garden amendment called Dillo Dirt. Since I compost, I haven’t purchased Dillo Dirt as a soil amendment in many years, but it’s great for gardeners to use for enriching poor soil and it’s safe for all gardens, including vegetable gardens.
Currently, sycamore leaf color varies–green, yellow, brown.
Once massive foliage color transformation occurs, the tree will change its leafy coverage from growing-season green, to sleepy-time yellow, with some warm toast thrown in for good measure.
I like my American sycamore.
I didn’t for a long time, simply viewing it as a high-maintenance mess, with its thick leaves and a cast of deep shade. In recent years and especially in this last year of following the monthly evolution of my American sycamore, observing arboreal nuance in ways that I hadn’t previously, I’ve grown to appreciate the handsome bark,
…and the valuable cover this large tree provides for wildlife–and for me–in the long, hot Texas summers. Rather than a tree that I think of as simply a producer of leaf-clutter, I now regard my American sycamore as an important partner in the wildlife habitat that I choose to nurture.
Thanks to Pat for hosting Tree Following, the meme for trees. Check out The Squirrelbasket to learn about trees from all over the world.