I took this photo in October of 2008. Nadia and I were running through Topcider Park close to our home, and I noticed this massive tree. It was so big that the branches were supported by metal supports.
The London Plane Tree or Hybrid Plane is the perfect urban tree. The tree is a cross of two types of plane trees. Americans may know the family as the Sycamore Family. The hybrid London Plane is very tolerant of car exhaust, the roots can withstand impactation from cement and sewers. It is a very popular park tree and is planted in many of the world’s cities. The main drawback are the huge, maple-like leaves. They cause much cleanup in the fall and I have had to sweep up quite a few of them in my yard. They also drop a lot of bark as it flakes off and the seed is a fuzz ball which also needs to be cleaned up. The Beautiful rows of plane trees are planted in many of the parks in Belgrade, including Haid Park next to our home.
I did some research into how old the tree in the photo is. The Serbian Prince Miloš Obrenović lived his final years outside of Belgrade in Topčider Park. He put a residence, church, military barrack, and a tavern. When the residence was finished, the area was planted with plane trees. Some sources claim the trees were planted in 1834. The Belgrade daily newspaper, Politika, claim the trees were planted in 1868, and they have the receipts from the seedlings purchased in Vienna, Austrial. 166 years or 140 years later, the biggest one has a crown diameter of more than 50 meters, has a height of 44 meters, and casts a shade of 1, 400 meters squared. The tree is protected by the government. We had a nice picnic and baseball game in the park this summer and occasionally Nadia and I run through the park.