Is it a bird, is it a plane..?

Is it a bird, is it a plane..?


It’s a tree, our plane tree! Two years ago we decided to buy a tree for the courtyard. We wanted one that was deciduous so that the winter sun would fall on the other plants, and we wanted one that we would shelter us from the summer sun. It was to be, without doubt, a long term plan. We plumped for a plane tree. We’d seen many around and noticed that they seemed happy to be planted in pavements or cobbled squares, and that their roots didn’t didn’t create bumps on the surface. Well, if any of you are thinking about getting a tree and have little patience this is the tree for you – it’s grown amazingly!

A year ago, with our RHS guide in hand, we pruned the lower branches. Not all the branch mind, only half, the idea being that young trees need as much leaf coverage as possible to help them grow.


To be honest it became a bit of a pain. The branches grew so long and low (despite the pruning) that this year walking from the kitchen to the barbeque area has meant walking off the raised courtyard bit and onto the gravel. There wasn’t room to sit underneath it. It wasn’t so much a tree but a kind of Jack in the Beanstalk reaching every way which.

However, we are pleased to see birds in it and witnessing the new bright green leaves forming so close up is always a treat. Come winter when the leaves turn orange and fall off little poms poms are revealed.

Now we are at peace. The lower branches have been cut off completely and we know that next year we will have a proper, grown up tree in the courtyard – in just 3 years!


2 thoughts on “Is it a bird, is it a plane..?

  1. Hi Jackie,

    Is that plane tree what I would call a Sycamore, fast growing with seeds that look like rotor blades and spin as they drop?

    Our family is researching a move to Portugal over the next few years and I am following your blog with interest 🙂


  2. Hi Teresa
    It’s not a sycamore but they are related (like the maple). The leaves look very similar but the seeds are in little balls which hang off the branches. Plane trees are very common in Europe often planted in parks or alongside roads as they can cope with pollution. You can often spot them because the thin bark peels off and the smooth trunk has a variety of colours.

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