Blog Post By Jona Elwell

An Apeeling Sign of Growth

We see a lot of pretty cool things in our Brookland neighborhood (deer! the largest green wall in D.C.!) but the other day we noticed something subtle – a milky greenish tree!  While we think of tree bark as being traditionally dark brown, these trees are light brown, dark green, and light green, and it’s all completely normal. What gives?

An unmistakable London planetree in the heart of Brookland.

The American sycamore and its hybridized cousin the London planetree are very similar and are easily identified by their classic bark pattern. The thin, peeling bark is unmistakable, with patches of brown, green, gray, and white that resemble army camouflage. The bark is brittle and can’t accommodate the fast annual growth of the trunk and branches, so it cracks. According to the United States Forest Service, low winter temperatures may injure the bark and cause excess peeling. However, D.C. property owners who maintain their lawns and sidewalks know that the tree sheds bark year round and throughout its life.

Although it might be a little messy, the London planetree is one of the most efficient trees in removing small particulate pollutants in urban areas. It is also a satisfying tree to plant – they can reach heights of 50 feet in 30-40 years.

Get an urban hardy, unusual London planetree or American sycamore for yourself! Both are available through our RiverSmart Homes program or through a tree rebate.

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