There is a shade tree that is rather conspicuous right now during this month of falling leaves, due to the fact that it has lost very little of its foliage. The London Plane Tree, Platanus x acerifolia ‘Bloodgood’ forms a magnificient shade tree wherever it’s planted and it’s planted in locations all over the world. If you’ve ever walked along the banks of the Tiber River in Rome you’ll find yourself under the massive canopies of these trees, for instance. It must be due to the thickness of the leaves but Platanus are always among the last of the shade trees to drop their foliage and many of the trees around the south part of the valley are still green!
The London Plane Tree will grow to 20 metres tall and nearly as wide over time, so it’s not a choice for a small property. The cultivar ‘Bloodgood’ is slightly smaller but still one of the larger trees available in the nursery trade. Leaves are large and thick, resembling those of the maple (hence the species name acerifolia). They are renowned for their ability to grow in urban settings, surrounded by concrete and breathing in polluted air. Plane Trees require good soil and moisture to thrive. Over time the tree becomes broadly pyramidal with spreading branches. Trees are hardy to -30 deg. C.
Because of their mature size ‘Bloodgood’ is not a great choice for most home landscapes but if there is space it will become a fantastic tree providing deep cooling shade. Fall colour, when it finally happens, is a pleasant but not showy yellow. Prepare to be blessed with a huge amount of leaves when they finally fall. Ideally they should be chopped before composting as they’ll take a long time to break down otherwise. One of the this tree’s best features is it’s beautiful exfoliating bark, resembling brown, tan and white puzzle pieces.

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