I’m not aware of any harm caused, in a pre-meditated sense, by the plane trees of France. Yes, various motorcyclists have been splatted against plane trees while racing along a tree-lined highway. But can you really blame the tree for standing there, looking nice?
They do look nice, I think. They have very smooth, attractive bark. Their leaves are like maple leaves on steroids. And they grow out very nice, rounded crowns. For example, consider the plane tree growing in front of Le Petit Paris, the excellent restaurant in the centre of the bustling municipality (okay, village) of Daglan, France; this photo was taken just a couple of days ago. Nice, eh?
And yet every autumn, the massacre begins: pruning shears and chain saws are pulled out of sheds and garages, and entire rows and clumps of plane trees are attacked. This is not a light pruning. This is a no-prisoners, take-it-down-to-the-trunk beating of the trees. Is it really necessary? I’m not sure. But no matter how brutal the pruning, the trees start to bounce back the following spring. And by mid-summer, they are in full growth.
So, how bad it is it? Well, have a look at this clump of plane trees in front of the Mairie (the Mayor’s office) in neighbouring Cénac. Ouch.