August In The Garden

Linden trees are one of my personal top three favorite trees for Zone 3. They have beautiful large, asymmetrical heart-shaped deep green leaves that form dense oval or pyramidal crowns at maturity, beautifully scented flowers and very straight trunks. Also, they are rapid growers!

An extra bonus is that all parts; leaves, flowers, seeds, bark, and sap are edible! Pollinators absolutely love the flowers and each mature Linden tree can provide enough nectar to produce hundreds of pounds of honey in a growing season. The fresh flowers can be used or dried for a tea which contains antioxidants and has a calming effect on the nervous system. The tea has a sweet flavor and fresh leaves and flowers can also be used in salads. The pea-like cream colored seeds can be consumed but are hard and have no flavor.

Flowers are cream to yellow and have both male and female parts in each flower. They are in clusters of 5-10. These clusters are called a ‘cyme’. The seed clusters each have a ‘wing’ that helps spread the seed on the wind.

The City of Saskatoon is planting more and more Linden trees in our beautiful city. There are many mature sizes of Linden; some large cultivars are the perfect size for playgrounds, parks and boulevards. Others are smaller at maturity, just right for a front or back yard. Saskatoon city Garden Centers also sell Linden trees; check the plant tag on the tree for mature height and spread before purchase!

The lifespan of a Linden tree is usually hundreds of years. Elsewhere in the world there are some Lindens that that have reached the grand old age of 1000 spring seasons. Very long lived trees.

There are 30 species of Linden trees which are native to North America, Asia and Europe

Linden Trees Tilia (Genus) aka: Basswood

Height: 15-24 m. tall
Light: Full Sun
Zone: 3
Characteristic: Non deer resistant

Grow in full sun to part shade. Do not expect rapid growth if you plant one in part shade. Rarely bothered by pests.

Linden trees need very little pruning. If you must prune, do so from late winter to early spring before leaf bud break. Most (not all) are deer resistant.

Straight trunks - dark bark is smooth when young and develops furrows as the tree matures. Lindens like loamy or sandy loam soil with good drainage. Do not let them sit in standing water. These deciduous trees have deep, wide-spreading roots and cannot tolerate drought.

The most common North American Linden is the American Basswood – Tilia Americana

This is a huge shade tree. It is also a fast grower –sometimes 60 cm per growing season. On a large property is a great shade tree for decks and patios due to its cleanliness and requires very little pruning. Fragrant, pale yellow flowers.

Will not tolerate pollution and urban conditions. A great tree for farms or acreages. Protect from deer in their younger years. As it matures, prune branches up so they are out of reach of deer.

Greenspire Linden Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire’

Fast growing, oval form, straight trunk. Gold fall color. A good urban tree. Deer and rabbit resistant. Two week summer flowering period. Fragrant yellow flowers. No significant pests reported.

Height: 12-15 m.
Spread: 4-6 m.
Zone: 3

Dropmore Linden Tilia x flavescens ‘Dropmore’

Height: 14 m
Spread: 7m.
Light: Full sun
Zone: 2a

Developed in Manitoba in 1955 by Dr. Frank Skinner. A slow growing Linden with a dense pyramidal shape. A hybrid between the American and Little Leaf Linden. This tree is very adaptable to dry and moist locations. If needed, pruning should be done in late winter or very early spring before leaf bud break. Produces yellow flowers in early summer.

The Harvest Gold Linden Tilia x mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’

Zone: 3
Height: 9-12 m
Spread: 8-9 m.
Light: Full sun
Characteristic: Very hardy

This Linden was developed in Manitoba and is a hybrid of Tilia cordata and Tilia mongolica. They have inherited serrated leaves from their Mongolian Linden parentage. Pyramidal, oval canopy at maturity. Attractive exfoliating bark. Resistant to sunscald and leafspot. Yellow flowers in early summer. Leaves turn golden yellow in fall.

Lindens planted by the City of Saskatoon

Lone Star Linden Tilia cordata ‘BySkinner’

Zone 2a - Has a neat and dense pyramidal shape. Height: 12m x Spread: 6m

Great tree for city yards. Fragrant yellow flowers in summer. Beautiful yellow fall color. Grow only in full sun.Very tolerant of urban and inner city pollution.

True North American Linden Tilia americana ‘Duros’

Zone 2a. Has a narrow, oval crown. Height: 12 - 15 m x Spread: 3 - 5 m.

Young bark is silver – grey. A low maintenance tree – not fussy as to soil type or pH. Tolerant of urban pollution. Yellow fall color. Fragrant yellow flowers in summer.

FYI – * Make sure that the Linden leaves or flowers you consume have not been sprayed with insecticides.

The oil of some Linden species is used in the perfume industry. Oscar de la Renta and Kate Spade carry Linden flower-based perfumes.

Linden wood is soft and can be used for sculptures or to make beautiful wood art work and furniture.

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