In city settings, tough, reliable trees are always needed. In suburban and country gardens too, a large tree with bold foliage and handsome bark, that will grow almost anywhere, is very valuable. The Bloodgood Sycamore, a selected form of the London Plane Tree, is certainly such a tree. No wonder these trees are planted in American and European cities as street trees, where they stand up to traffic fumes and urban pollution easily.
Not only is this tree able to survive polluted air, it will grow in almost any type of soil, including both dry soils and areas frequently flooded. It has been developed to also resist the diseases that have led to problems with the plane tree in some cities.
Growing Bloodgood Sycamore Trees
The Bloodgood Sycamore is a large tree growing to 50 feet or more in height, if untrimmed. It has a spread of over 25 feet, and it should be planted in a position where it can mature with sufficient room for its development. Older trees may become significantly larger than this in time. Untrimmed trees develop a strong central leading trunk, with a relatively small number of very thick major branches. The leaves are large, up to twelve inches long, and with three large lobes, looking a little like a maple leaf. The leaf is colored a rich green, and it has an attractive glossy surface. In fall the leaves turn yellow. This tree also produces large seeds balls, which can be seen, especially in winter, hanging in clusters of two, three or four. These are an inch or so in diameter, with a spiny surface.
The bark of the Bloodgood Sycamore is very striking and attractive. It is almost camouflage-like, with irregular patches ranging in color from near-white to olive-green, with many shades of brown and light gray too. From time to time older bark peels off in large pieces, revealing fresh, colorful bark beneath. This is completely normal and not a cause for concern. This process helps to clean the bark of pollutants, and it is part of the reason this tree grows so well in cities.
Uses on Your Property
Plant the Bloodgood Sycamore as a specimen tree in a large garden, especially if you are struggling with poor soil and poor drainage. It can be planted in dry areas, and once established it is very drought resistant. It also grows well along streams or beside lakes. This tree is always a top choice for difficult locations, but it is also an attractive tree for the foliage and bark, and it should be a top choice in any garden with sufficient room for its development.
The Bloodgood Sycamore will grow in almost any soil. Sand, loam or clay, acid or alkaline, compacted or stony, well-drained or often flooded – all kinds of soils are tolerated by this tree, which is a major reason for planting it in difficult locations anywhere. This tree has also been developed to resist leaf blight, anthracnose and twig canker. All these are serious diseases that can attack plane trees, so resistance is important to make sure your tree has a long, attractive and healthy life. This tree can be grown naturally, with little or no trimming, but it is often seen grown with regular hard trimming in winter back to a framework of large limbs. These ‘pollarded’ trees grow many small branches, and can be kept more compact.
History and Origins of the Bloodgood Sycamore Tree
The Bloodgood Sycamore is a selected form of the London plane tree, which has a long history. That tree is believed to be a hybrid between the Old-World Sycamore (Platanus orientalis) and the American Sycamore, or Buttonwood (Platanus occidentalis). The first of these, also called the Oriental Plane, grows all through Europe and as far as Iran, while the second grows throughout the eastern and central United States.
Perhaps as far back as 1670, in a botanical garden in England, a chance cross-pollination occurred, leading to a hybrid tree that combined the characteristics of the two trees, and which also produced seed that could be used to produce further plants. This may have happened more than once, producing a group of hybrid trees with tiny variations between them, all called Platanus x acerifolia. Among them is the London Plane tree, a tree growing all over that city and familiar to visitors. Similar trees are grown in France and Europe too, and all of them are renowned for their ability to survive in difficult urban conditions, in poor soil and polluted air.
In North America the London Plane Tree is used as a city tree, but often they were grown from seed, meaning that their appearance, habit of growth, vigor and resistance to disease is very variable. To overcome this problem, Bloodgood Nurseries – America’s oldest nursery, which was in Flushing, New York – studied a group of seedling London plane trees, and in the early 1970s they selected one for its outstanding glossy foliage, balanced and attractive shape, and most important of all, its resistance to disease. This selected tree was named after the nursery – ‘Bloodgood’ – and is widely known as the very best example of this tree to grow. Our trees are genetically identical to that original Bloodgood tree, and they are grown from stem pieces, not seed. This very desirable and tough tree is always in high demand, so order now while our stock lasts.
Note: The name ‘Bloodgood’ is also widely known as the name of the popular Bloodgood Japanese Maple Tree, which has red leaves. That tree is named after the nursery, and not after the leaf color. The Bloodgood Sycamore has green leaves, not red ones.