The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

Merit of the plane, or buttonwood, tree

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The great merit of the plane, or buttonwood, is its extreme vigor and luxuriance of growth. In a good soil it will readily reach a height of thirty-five or forty feet in ten years. It is easily transplanted; and in new residences, bare of trees, where an effect is desired speedily, we know of nothing better adapted quickly to produce abundance of foliage, shelter, and shade. When the requisite foliage is obtained, and other trees of slower growth have reached a proper size, the former may be thinned out. As the plane tree grows to the largest size, it is only proper for situations where there is considerable ground, and where it can without inconvenience to its fellows have ample room for its full development. Then soaring up, and extending its wide-spread branches on every side, it is certainly a very majestic tree. The color of the foliage is of a paler green than is usual in forest trees; and although of large size, is easily wafted to and fro by the wind, thereby producing an agreeable diversity of light pleasing to the eye in summer. In winter the branches are beautifully hung, even to their furthest ends, with the numerous round russet-balls, or seed-vessels, each suspended by a slender cord, and swinging about in the air. The outline of the head is pleasingly irregular, and its foliage against a sky outline is bold and picturesque. It is not a tree to be planted in thick groves by itself, but to stand alone and detached, or in a group with two or three. In avenues it is often happily employed, and produces a grand effect. It also grows with great vigor in close cities, as some superb specimens in the square of the State-house, Pennsylvania Hospital, and other places in Philadelphia fully attest.