tilia linden (basswood)

Linden trees, sometimes called basswood or lime tree, are an excellent choice for the urban landscape. They are especially hardy, tolerant of alkaline soils, visited by few destructive insects and exhibit a natural, pyramidal shape that requires little pruning. Lindens are slow growers and will take many years to provide shade. They produce small, round, persistent fruits that are attached to leaf-like appendages. These trees have attractive, golden yellow fall color.

There are several varieties for you to choose from. American linden was perhaps the most commonly planted linden 25 years ago. Its desirable landscape traits include adaptability to a broad range of soils and pH, and open crown with age. Greenspire has a straight trunk and develops a dense pyramidal shape. Like other lindens, they have fragrant flowers and dark green leaves. Littleleaf linden has small leaves and a more broad crown which is less formal than Greenspire. Redmond is a vigorous tree with a pyramidal growth habit. The current year's branches turn reddish at the onset of colder weather in autumn, providing more winter interest.

 

AMERICAN LINDEN

Tilia americana

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates some drought. Prefers moist, fertile, well-drained loams. Depending upon availability from year to year we have carried several varieties of American Linden.

boulevard linden

Selected at Bailey Nurseries for its narrow, pyramidal habit and ascending branches, this attractive specimen tree is ideal for boulevards and other sites where height is needed but width is limited. Fragrant yellow flowers are produced in mid to late June.

Height: 60 ft

Spread: 30 ft

Fall Color: Pale Yellow

USDA Zone: 3 - 8

BOULEVARD LINDEN

Frontyard® Linden

This Bailey Nurseries introduction was selected for its excellent symmetrical branching habit even as a young tree. A great "front yard" tree, it is broadly pyramidal when young and nicely rounded with age. The dense foliage offers excellent shade.

Height: 60 - 75 ft

Spread: 30 - 40 ft

Fall Color: Pale Yellow

USDA Zone: 3 - 8

FRONTYARD® LINDEN

 

REDMOND LINDEN

redmond linden

A valuable tree for street planting, 'Redmond' has the largest leaves of the lindens. The dense foliage is glossy green with bright yellow autumn color.

Height: 40 - 60 ft

Spread: 25 - 30 ft

Fall Color: Pale Yellow

USDA Zone: 3 - 8

 

little leaf linden

Tilia cordata

The widely known little leaf linden is a source of beauty in natural settings as well as parks and streets across.  Whether as a yard tree or street tree, the little leaf linden will draw you in with its pleasing shape, dense canopy and super-fragrant flowers.  Depending upon availability we have carried several varieties of Little leaf linden.

GREENSPIRE LINDEN

CORINTHIAN LINDEN

Greenspire® Linden

A favorite of many, the Greenspire® stands out as a favorite Linden specimen.  This tree is very suitable for street planting, with it's straight trunk, rich foliage and fragrant, pale yellow flowers.  Narrow in it's youth and widening at maturity this tree is sure to please.

Height: 40 - 50 ft

Spread: 30 - 35 ft

Fall Color: Pale Yellow

USDA Zone: 4 - 8

Corinthian® Linden

Corinthian Linden has an upright, pyramidal habit with limbs evenly spaced around its straight central leader. Narrow habit and lustrous dark green leaves present a neat, formal appearance. Suitable for boulevard planting or a small yard area. 

Height: 45 ft

Spread: 15 ft

Fall Color: Pale Yellow

USDA Zone: 4 - 8

 

NORLIN LINDEN

Norlin® Linden

A hardy hybrid of Littleleaf Linden selected for its rapid growth, resistance to leaf spot, good resistance to leaf gall and improved resistance to sunscald. Shiny heart-shaped, green leaves.

Height: 35 - 50 ft

Spread: 25 - 35 ft

Fall Color: Pale Yellow

USDA Zone: 4 - 8

 
They are especially hardy, tolerant of alkaline soils, visited by few destructive insects...
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HYBRID LINDENS

These varieties have been bred together from two separate Linden species and are great tree choices for our Northern climate.

HARVEST GOLD LINDEN

GLENLEVEN LINDEN

Harvest Gold Linden

Tilia x mongolica 'Harvest Gold

This hybrid of Tilia cordata and Tilia mongolica was developed in Manitoba, Canada. It is hardier than Norlin linden and resistant to sunscald injury and leaf spot. An excellent boulevard tree, it has lovely exfoliating bark, golden buds and consistent fall color.

Height: 35 - 50 ft

Spread: 25 - 35 ft

Fall Color: Pale Yellow

USDA Zone 3 - 8

 

 

Glenleven Linden

Tilia x flavescens glenleven

Selected in Canada by Sheridan Nursery, this fast growing tree has a straight trunk and larger leaves than other T. cordata selections.

Height: 34 - 50 ft

Spread: 30 - 35 ft

Fall Color: Pale Yellow

USDA Zone: 4 - 8

 

care and pruning:

 

POSITIVES:

There are many things to like about the basswood or Linden.  They are an excellent street tree, free of much disease issues.  A medium growing tree they will beatify a landscape for many years to come.  They have an upright canopy that is pyramidal in youth and becomes more rounded in maturity.  A small yellow flower is borne in early summer.  While relatively mess-free the flower does drop a small seed.  They really are an excellent tree and a great substitute for replacing Ash varieties.

 

DRAWBACKS:

These trees have relatively few drawbacks making them an excellent tree for yards, parks and any public space.  Some complain of the scent that the flowers give off in early summer.  

Most commonly because of their large leafy size they are susceptible to aphid infestations.  These insects seldom cause enough damage to kill the tree but do produce a sticky substance known as honeydew that can make a mess of parked cars and other items that may be underneath their canopy.  You may notice curled and deformed leaves and upon closer inspection you can usually find the green nymph of the aphid crawling around on the leaves.  A spraying application should be done to kill the aphids when possible.  

 

PRUNING:

There is really no optimal pruning time for Linden.  They respond well to pruning at almost any time of year.  American linden grows into a very large tree and demands space to develop properly. Naturally occurring trees need no pruning but branches on landscape specimens should be spaced by pruning along the trunk to allow for development to maturity.

For more on identifying old wood and new wood see our page on care of woody plants.