Exclamation London Planetree - Parkway Planted - October 2022

2022 is shaping up to be a pretty light year in terms of planting trees on our property.  And that's, ok in my book.  Why?  Because there are fewer and fewer spots that trees make sense left AND that means I'm becoming a little bit more picky in what I want to do.  The last tree that we planted this year was in late May when we dug in a VERY SMALL Saratoga Ginko tree that one of the kids bought at the Morton Arboretum Arbor Day sale.  When I say "very small", I mean very.small.  

We tucked this tree (more like a seedling) into an existing small, curved bed in our front yard.  It is planted almost *amongst* a little cluster of Little Henry Sweetspire by our front walk.  I put it there on purpose - because the tree WAS so small, I thought it needed both a little bit of protection both from damage as well as the conditions.  This way, it can put on some new growth, get established and do that all in the shadow of the shrub.  I also didn't want to have a tiny tree - all by itself - in the middle of our front yard, right by our front door.  

That Saratoga Ginko tree was the 7th tree of 2022 that we planted with the first six all being Green Giant Thujas in the backyard.  

Today, I'm posting about the eight tree of the season:  A London Planetree Exclamation.

This is our fifth London Planetree on our property with the other four being planted in our backyard.  Those all were Planetree Bloodgoods.  Platanus x acerifolia.  Which is a hybrid between an American Sycamore tree  (P. occidentalis) and an Oriental planetree (P. orientalis).  First one was planted at the very beginning of the pandemic.  The other three were planted in a row that I intend to try to pleach as they mature.  

This new tree is a slightly different variety - as it is from the Chicagoland Grows collection - it is an Exclamation London Planetree.  What is an Exclamation tree?  From Chicagoland Grows, you can find out that it was developed by Dr. George Ware from our very own Morton Arboretum.  It is formally known as Platanus x acerifolia ‘Morton Circle’.  And it has a strong, central leader, is 'upright', is a fast-grower, is strong against the typical tree disesases.  But...important (for me) is that it has 'exceptional tolerance' to things like bad soil conditions, drought and urban pollution.  

I've been drawn to London Planetrees ever since seeing them planted en mass in one of our favorite places: Luxembourg Gardens in Paris.    This being the fifth Planetree, the question for me was where to put it.  With a quick look back at some of my tree-planning posts, the decision was an easy one.  This post from December of 2019 talked about some potential sites for trees to be planted in our front yard.  In that post, I speculated that I could (or should) add up to four front-yard trees.  A couple of 'backfill' or 'understory' trees that I'd plant as hedges against the decline of the existing trees.  And a couple of net-new trees.  

Those four trees that I spec'd were:  Backfill/understory of the sidewalk tree IB2DWs, a backfill/understory tree beneath the Norway Maple by our front porch, a 'framing' tree on the lawn-side of our driveway down by the sidewalk, and a second parkway tree.  Here, below, is the sketch from that post:

I did plant the IB2DWs tree - a small Ginko.  And the location of where we put the Saratoga Ginko wasn't on this plan, so that's a net-new location.  Here, below is an updated version showing the two Ginkos:

With that background, it left a couple of spots for this new Exclamation Planetree.  After a little bit of thinking, I decided to put it in the parkway.  The parkway?  Yeah.  You can read the full backstory about how/when/why parkway trees are/aren't planted in Downers and why I'm planting my own here.  Of note, the London Planetree *is* on the list of approved species for parkways.  And, I planted it more than six-feet from the driveway apron.   However, why I don't currently have two Village-supplied parkway trees right now is because the requirements are that they are separated by 30-35 feet of distance from existing parkway trees.  If I back off the driveway by six-plus feet, I have just 24 feet from the center of this new hole to the center of the existing trunk of the parkway Norway Maple.

So, why plant it there?  Because the Norway Maple tree is in trouble.  It is either *in* or close to being *in* a state of decline.  So, how can I best use the time available - until that tree fails - to get a parkway tree up and growing in the meantime?  With this small London Planetree is how.

Here's what the tree looked like in the small five-gallon nursery container:

And, here below, is the spot where I planted it.  You can see the driveway apron, the sidewalk, the street/curb and the existing Norway Maple.  My spade shovel handle is where the tree will be planted:

Below is a view from the street looking back to our house.  If you look closely, you'll notice SOMETHING ELSE HAS HAPPENED!

And, here she is.  Our small Exclamation London Planetree planted and mulched.

Do I wish the tree was bigger and more mature?  Of course.  But, I'll feed and water this one and then (hopefully) at some point limb-it-up.  

This is the eight tree of the season.  This will be the 76th tree planted (wow...76 trees!), there are 55 of those 76 that are still alive.

Six growing seasons:

76 trees planted/6 growing seasons = 12.6 trees on average planted each season.
55 trees alive/6 growing seasons = 9.1 trees on average survive each season.

Here's the full accounting:

2017 (9 planted. 4 Dead. 5 of the original annual total alive now):
1. Flowering Pear in backyard on north side.
2. Flowering Pear in front yard by garage. (LOST and replaced)
3. Japanese flowering cherry
4 and 5: 2 Lindens that I espalier'd and placed by the south fence line near our kitchen windows.
6. A Dawn Redwood from Earth Day 2017 (LOST and replaced)
7. Nat's Saucer Magnolia in our front yard
8. A Corkscrew Willow all the way in the back (LOST)
9. A Crimson King Norway Maple near the trampoline

2018 (17 planted. 6 Dead):
10. Another flowering pear from Earth Day 2018
11. Red Maple Sun Valley tree from Earth Day 2018.
12. Weeping Cedar tree - our first evergreen.  (LOST)
13. The weeping flowering cherry tree that the Babe planted for Earth Day 2018.
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. These Frans Fontaine Hornbeams
22. A replacement Chanticleer Pear tree (3" caliper) out front by our garage
23. Our second evergreen - a short Fraser Fir Christmas Tree out by the trampoline. (LOST)
24. This Canadian Hemlock that is the first of nine that our landscape plan calls for in the backyard. (LOST)
25. Our replanted/replacement Dawn Redwood. Same spot as the first.
26. This teeny-tiny Bald Cypress that I planted in the front yard, in between our driveway and our neighbor to the north.

2019 (9 planted.  5 Dead):
27, 28, 29.  A set of three small Canadian Hemlock Trees in our far backyard. (Two Lost)
30, 31, 32.  This second set of three small Canadian Hemlocks along the north fence line. (One Lost)
33.  My new Weeping White Spruce that will only grow about 4' wide placed near the fence line alongside the espalier'd Lindens.
34.  A NEW Dwarf Alberta Spruce planted near the south fence line.  Our first "dwarf" tree.
35.  This new Hakuro Nishiki Willow (Dappled Willow) tree planted close to the flowering cherry on the southside.  LOST - October 2020.

37.  A very thin Lombardy Poplar tree - columnar form - in the way back wood chip area.  LOST - July 2020.
38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45.  These apple trees in a Belgian Fence espalier.
46.  A small Northern Red Oak tree - our first Oak tree planted.
47.  A 'decapitated' Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud that I planted on a whim.
48.  A replacement (from the nursery) Lavender Twist Redbud planted close to the brother.
49.  A tall(ish) London Plane tree that suffered some transplant and frost shock, but seemed to recover. 
50.  Our second contorted tree - this one inspired by Disneyland Paris: a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick tree.
51.  Our third contorted tree - but one that checks A LOT of boxes.  Deciduous conifer.  Weeping.  Contorted.  Japanese.  Planted behind the front Maple - the Horstmann's Recursive Weeping Contorted Larch.  LOST - Aug 2020.
52.  Via the Morton Arboretum Plant Sale - a columnar tree from Japan - the Red Fox Katsura Tree that I planted as an understory tree to the dying Chanticleer Pear Tree next to our driveway. 

2021 (16 planted and 16 alive):
53.  A tiny bareroot Shagbark Hickory from the Benet Academy Environmental Club planted in the backyard.   
55.  A large Weeping Nootka Falsecypress from Wannemaker's planted in the new bed on the northside. 
56.  A long-sought-after Emperor I Japanese Maple - our second Japanese Maple - that is now planted on the border near our new-to-be-created fire pit area in the backyard. 
59.  A dwarf Japanese White Pine - Pinus Parviflora Nana (or perhaps something else)
64.  A second, tiny Ginko tree - this was a replacement for #62 - planted 'ib2dw'.
65.  A small - and ALL Green - Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) planted in front of the back Yews.
66. 67. 68.  A trio of London Planetree 'Bloodgood' trees that are planted along the fence that I'm going to attempt to pleach.

2022 (8 planted and 8 alive):
69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. Six Green Giant Thujas trees planted as an upright evergreen layer in the backyard. Thuja standishii plicata.
75. A small Saratoga Ginko tree planted in our front yard by the front walk.
76.  A London Planetree Exclamation planted in our parkway.  A bandit tree of sorts.


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