London Plane tree?

aquilachrysaetosJune 11, 2008

I love California Sycamores but I understand they go on search and destroy missions for water, sewer and septic systems.

I've noticed that London Plane Tree while somewhat similar to it's California cousin is used as a street tree most everywhere. Does it have the same destructive trait?

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angelcub(Sunset 3b)

Love them! That is the only variety we grow. We haven't found them to be invasive at all, even in the front garden where we have a small lawn of Kentucky bluegrass. They do eventually send out long roots and will search for water but deep watering has kept them in check for us. Beautiful trees, wonderful shade and no diseases here. They do drop seed pods that are about the size of a golf ball. Some find them messy but I just rake them up with the leaves and other garden waste, then compost. I've never had seedlings from them.

Here is a link to my PB album if you want to see some pics of our largest one out back. It is about 12 years old and the pics are several years old. We have 4 more around the house and some small ones we've grown from cuttings are waiting in large pots. The other link is to my web page where you can see the one in the front garden. It gets regular water from the lawn sprinklers and surrounding bed sprinklers that go twice a week for a half hour.


Here is a link that might be useful: Sycamore Cottage

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 1:23PM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

I think that, in general, London Plane trees have the same tendency to find water as California Sycamore. You don't hear many complaints about it in wetter climates because when water is abundant from rain and in the ground, trees aren't as likely to damage pipes - the sewer pipe water isn't the only water around and so the roots aren't as aggressive as they would be in a dry soil. They can and do damage pipes even in places with lots of rain, but it is a littly less likely, apparently, than it is in dry CA.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 9:32AM
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This tree wouldn't go dry. I don't use sprinklers much, preferring to deep water.

I have a Kingan Fruitless Mulberry that has some serious issues and eventually needs to come out. One of it's negative traits it it has huge surface roots. I had to cutone because it was going under the house and had cracked my front porch.

All examples of London Plane that I have seen do not have those surface roots. They plant them along streets here and even have pavement all around them. The tree "looks" right to me, like it would be better behaved but a tree can work out to be a huge expensive mistake so I want to be sure.

Angel: What a lovely place you have! Your Sycamores are lovely. They have that perfect shape that I always see in that variety.

There is a house in my neighborhood that has a giant one in their backyard. It's truly picturesque and does not seem to mind the east wind we get here often. It's still in that perfect shape, taller than it is wide.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 11:58PM
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I myself have also seen these trees in parking medians and pavement areas. They are nicer and seem a bit more tame than the big ol' cali sycamores, which are nice trees also if you have the space.

It drives me nuts when i see a nice tree somewhere in my zone, and envision it in my backyard thinking how nice it would look. Then I get home, do a google/sunset search once I know what kind of tree it is. Surely to find out some drama about its roots or litter etc. and get discouraged. When realistically, if you were to plant it, it would probably be a problem in 20, 30 or 40 years not now, if at all. Of course, there are some trees with VERY aggressive roots, and some with roots who in many many years might do some damage. This is the part where u say the heck with it and plant it! or you dont. drives me NUTS!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 9:57AM
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ccroulet(z9 CA Sunset 18)

We've been here (Redhawk area of Temecula) 15 years. A neighbor has two genuine Calif. sycamores (not London planes) in his yard. They're gorgeous trees, and the birds love 'em, but in the fall the leaves go everywhere, my yard included. Each leaf is seemingly about the size of an aircraft carrier flight deck. I'm the one who has to clean them up. And they keep coming. It takes weeks for the trees to shed all of their leaves. To me, this is not a distant annoyance, it's right now.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 11:44AM
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Angelcub: I am having trouble finding a nursery that carries London Plane trees. Where did you get yours?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 3:27PM
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I did find two plane trees and I have just planted them in my front yard. One is the cultivar 'Columbia.' The other was unmarked. It has smaller leaves that are a darker green and the foliage is slightly aromatic.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 2:25AM
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angelcub(Sunset 3b)

Oh, sorry dis, I never saw your follow up posts. I'm kind of hit & miss on this site.

I'm glad you found two LPs. They really are beautiful tress. We bought two of ours at a local nursery. The others my DH started from cuttings from those two trees.

Also, thanks for the compliment! We have so much sweat equity in this place I don't think we'll ever leave. : )

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 1:52PM
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Me too. :) I show up periodically then I'm gone for a while.

I think my trouble finding LPs was because I was looking at the wrong times. My first tree I special ordered from a local nursery and the second I happened across when I went into a big home improvement store to buy tree stakes. I went back later than night with Hubby to show him the tree. Serendipitously, he said "let's buy it". 15 dollars for a 15 gallon is a pretty good deal. It was hilarious getting it out of the store. They locked up the garden dept except for a lowish doorway into the store. We had to tip the 15 foot tree to get it in the store. When we tipped it back up on the lumber cart, it went "thup, thup," on the signage hanging from the ceiling as we wheeled it to the cash register. To get it home, we had to lay it on its side with the pot against the dash board of our van. It stuck out the back several feet. It's definitely a sturdy tree! Store signs and flapping in the wind out the back of our van didn't hurt it at all. I don't think it lost a single leaf.

I have the stakes in place for both trees but I won't tie them until Sept. I was reading somewhere that letting them wobble in the wind will help them develop stouter trunks. I will tie them in time for the really big winds.

Last year I saw how some new LPs planted in the open handled the wind. Their stakes had snapped and they were bent over with their crowns touching the ground. Not broken or uprooted. Fresh stakes put 'em to rights.

I had originally planned for only one. But I figured two would make quicker shade. Maybe in a few years I'll be able to tie up a hammock between them. I can see myself lazing with a good book and a tall glass of iced tea.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 3:25AM
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oakhuorn(4 MN)

My mother-in-law has one of these trees in her front yard. It is quite big. It has been through quite a few nasty storms. It drops only those seed balls and maybe a few leaves. It is a sturdy tree. They are very fast growing. I remember when it was just a sapling. Now it is a huge beautiful tree. You will have lovely shade in a few short years.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 5:45PM
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angelcub(Sunset 3b)

Smiling at your story, dis. : ) Glad you were able to find a nice one. Oh, and the hammock between them sounds wonderful, but they do get rather wide so plan on that. You can trim them up into a more columnar shape but they'll just grow more limbs the next year. So get a loooong hammock. lol!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 3:25PM
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Yeah, they're planted pretty far apart. Mebbe I can tie the hammock to one of the wide spreading limbs on each tree. It will be a few years yet: These trees seem to get very large before their limbs thicken much.

I plan only on minimal pruning. I got trees that have a nice strong central leader so they will grow nice and shapely without my help.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 5:07PM
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We live on what is referred to in Burbank, CA as the "Hillside District." We don't have parts of our home clinging to the side of a hill on exposed supports, but we do have significant sloping from both north to south and east to west.

Our mountain-side location clearly magnifies the winds which come our way, including the hot and dry Santa Anas. A couple of days ago we had a storm that, even by meteorologists' expectations, was "wind intense."

In March of 2009 we planted two LPs (bloodgood) which were given to us as part of Burbank's "Made in Shade" program. One of the trees has always looked full, balanced, and otherwise healthy. The other has always looked gangly and somewhat unbalanced, but otherwise healthy.

At about 1:00 a.m. I went out to check on the trees. By the time I looked outside, the gangly tree was not just swaying in the wind, but basically leaning just past 45 degrees--even though it had a flexible support tied to the central leader at numerous places. I pulled the tree back to vertical immediately and hastily propped it up with supports. It is now properly supported by four stakes which are attached to the tree in three different spots: top, center, bottom. (That took some work.)

As I was bringing the tree back to center I noticed that the ground immediately around the thin trunk moved in a solid mass, similar to the size of the container in which it was delivered. Is this a sign that the tree has been uprooted or somehow otherwise damaged? Any recommendations as to what to do at this point? Any thoughts regarding nutrients?


    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 11:07AM
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Took me a while to run across this thread again.

Michael. It sounds like your tree got pot bound and when you planted it, the roots never spread out in the surrounding soil and so that's why it got tipped over. I'm not positive but may regular deep water can help it get established The watering you would give a lawn is not sufficient. The best way to water them it to put the garden hose on a trickle and let it run for about 6 hours.

I've had my LPs for over a year now and the warm weather and deep watering is making them grow like mad. Some of the branches on the bigger one have lengthened by 3 feet. It's definitely filling out. The smaller one took a bit because the gophers decided to do some major excavating around it. It paused and dropped a few leaves. It's now sprinting like the big one.

I never got around to tying the big one. It never needed it.

I just undid the ties on the smaller one They're still there hanging from the stakes just in case I think it needs retying when the Santa Ana winds arrive

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 3:21AM
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We have a strong wind storm coming. last snow storm brought down a neighbor's evergreen. We have 4 trees which are about 2 feet apart. Would tying them together help them weather the storm better?

Thanks in advance.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 8:44PM
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Dan Staley



    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 10:41AM
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