The iconic London Plane has been crowned the ultimate urban tree, after winning the final of a 32-tree tournament in which over 16,000 votes were cast, sparking lots of debate, plenty of #TreeTrashTalk, fun and learning.
Fans agreed that Plane was a fitting champion, as a large species which thrives in towns and cities all over the world. While Dawn Redwood supporters were left disappointed by a final score line of 62% - 32% after seeing their team march unexpectedly to the World Cup final with a surprise win against Silver Birch.
The tournament was launched by the Arboricultural Association to provide some much-needed entertainment during the worldwide Covid-19 lockdown and fill the void left by the cancellation of sporting events across the globe. Since beginning on 8th April, it has sparked debate and discussion focused on trees, as well as educating many through species selection guides which included detailed infographics with each tree to help inform voters.
Like any classic world cup there was a mixture of thrillers and thrashings, as well as some heated debate among arborists and the tree community. There was even some ‘tree trash talk’ as fans fervently supported their favorite trees throughout the competition, with early calls for Oak to be disqualified on the grounds of eligibility, while the Monkey Puzzle tree was labelled a ‘glorified pipe cleaner’ by rival fans.
The first shock of the tournament came in the Round of 16 when the Oak, so often a winner of countless tree competitions, came unstuck against the underdog Tulip Tree losing by 8 percent. Later on, the Giant Sequoia faced Dawn Redwood in a Quarterfinal that proved to be the most thrilling encounter of the world cup; with Redwood producing a stunning last-minute comeback to win by just nine votes overall, after 750 were cast on the match.
The biggest thrashing was administered by Giant Sequoia which dumped the Tree of Heaven out by an 84% - 16% score line, while the Tulip Tree v Silver Birch quarterfinal was the ‘most watched’ match of the tournament drawing in 1,592 votes.
In celebration of the first ever Urban Tree World Cup winner, a London Plane tree will be planted in the grounds of the Arboricultural Association in Autumn 2020.