London plane trees account for over half London’s tree population. However, this tree was only discovered during the 17th century by John Tradescant the Younger at Vauxhall. It is a hybrid between the American sycamore and the Oriental plane, made possible by the import into Europe of the Oriental plane which was first recorded in 1548 by William Turner.
London planes were heavily planted during the Industrial Revolution when the air was black with soot and smog polluted the atmosphere. The bark breaks away in large flakes as the tree rids itself of pollutants, leaving the trunk with its distinctive mottled appearance. At this time there was an increased need for housing as people poured into London from rural areas looking for work, so many of the newly built streets were lined with plane trees where they thrived despite poor soil.
However, London plane trees release spores which trigger allergic reactions and tree surgeons climbing these trees or collecting trimmed branches on the ground can suffer from streaming eyes and sore throats.
It is not known how old a London plane may become because none is known to have died of old age. The oldest trees of this species date from first plantings around 1660-80. The tallest London plane has achieved 48.5 metres in height and the tallest London planes actually in London have reached 30-35 metres.
Take A Bough Tree Care would be delighted to offer free, expert advice on any aspect of tree care and work in the following areas – the London Boroughs of Wandsworth, Lambeth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, Merton and Kingston as well as the towns of Battersea, Clapham, Chelsea, Balham, Fulham, Putney, Earlsfield, Southfields, Wimbledon, Kingston, Stockwell, Roehampton and Streatham and. Elmbridge Borough which includes Esher, Claygate and Surbiton.