Fruit Trees

London Plane Trees

I occasionally receive calls from customers who have followed the directions of their GPS to Daley's Nursery via the bridge at the end of Clark's Lane. The main problem with these street directions is that this particular bridge washed away back in the flood of 1989. So those who leave the gravel road on Clark's lane and persist down the goat track end up here where the remnants of the old bridge can still be seen. If you arrive late in the day it is worth sitting quietly for a little while as you may be lucky enough to spot a platypus in the waterhole and if you fancy a dip the nursery is just across the other side of the Richmond River, which on a hot day such as today is cool and inviting.

The bridge was built in 1900, this picture shows the same view from Clark's Lane looking back towards Daley's Lane, with Saville's Homestead in the background. This bridge was the only way to cross the Richmond River near Kyogle until 1912 - without getting wet.

Many years ago around the time of the Second World War or soon after someone in Kyogle planted an avenue of London Plane trees on either side of the river, these trees still stand today. There are four trees on the Daleys side of the river which have matured into impressive specimen trees while the six trees on the harder, dryer side of the river along Clark's Lane are about half the size, in fact it is hard to believe they are the same age.

This is the avenue from Daleys Lane leading down to the river, the nursery is in the background. London Plane are famous for their attractive bark pattern, their old bark flakes off to reveal fresh pale coloured bark underneath creating beautiful splodgy patterns in green, white and pale brown. The trees are striking when they are deciduous as the attractive bark becomes more pronounced.

They are also fabulous habitat trees, longicorn beetles burrow into the wood creating small holes that over time form larger hollows that are vital for many of our native birds, possums and other hollow dwellers. I discovered this small skink using one of the large hollows yesterday as I peered in to see who was in residence.

London Planes are common street plantings as they are very tolerant of atmospheric pollution and compaction of the soil around their roots. They are also useful as specimen trees in parks and large gardens where they can be given plenty of space to spread and mature to full size, they can grow 20-35m tall and have a spreading shady canopy. They do however have irritating hairs on the foliage which may cause allergies and asthma in some people, but if given plenty of room they are a stunning addition to the landscape.

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