The Linden tree (Tilia cordata) is a deciduous tree desirable for its hardiness and adaptability, according to the University of Connecticut. The tree, which is native to Europe, is frequently planted in areas with poor soil or along city streets, where other trees will not grow well. It is sometimes called the "Tilia" or "Littleleaf" tree for its small, attractively dainty leaves.
Linden trees grow best in temperate climates, which have cool winters and mild summers. They do not do well in extremely cold or hot areas, such as subtropical or tropical climates. Tilia cordata will thrive only in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 7A, according to the University of Florida.
The linden tree is a medium-to-large tree. In the wild, it can grow up to 80 feet tall, with a canopy 40 feet wide, but in cultivation it usually remains a little over half that size, according to the University of Florida. The foliage is dense, and the leaves are small, green and heart-shaped. The bark is gray-brown and deeply furrowed. The flowers are light yellow and small, and grow in clusters. They attract bees in large numbers, which means you should not plant this tree in high pedestrian areas.
This tree grows well in full sunlight or partial shade. While it is tolerant of many different soil types and conditions, the linden tree grows best in moist, well-draining soils. In fact, Tilia trees will suffer most when prolonged droughts occur. The combination of very dry soil and hot sunlight can scorch the leaves of the tree, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. Still, these trees can grow even in polluted conditions and can adapt to changes in the pH level of the soil. They are also easily transplanted.
Tilia trees can suffer from aphids and Japanese beetles. There is little you can do to prevent these insect pests, although insecticide can be used on small trees. Apply when you see the insects in large amounts, and follow the directions on the label for best results. Linden trees can also suffer from sooty mold, according to the University of Connecticut. This is a fungal disease that often arises during very wet springs. The chances of this and other fungal diseases developing can be reduced by giving the tree plenty of space for air circulation and by watering at the ground level and avoiding wetting the foliage.
"Greenspire" is the most commonly seen cultivar of Tilia cordata, according to the University of Connecticut. It is desirable for its pleasing form, with strong branching, straight trunk and oval crown, and for its extreme hardiness. "Green Globe" and "Lico" are both dwarf cultivars that will only reach a maximum height of 15 feet. "Chancole" is a good cultivar to use as a street tree, because it is more drought tolerant than other cultivars. It also has a narrow growth pattern but wide branching angles that make it less likely to split during a wind or ice storm.