The American linden tree comes from a family of trees in which most of the species grow in southern latitudes near or below the equator. American linden is a handsome tree and one that works well as a landscaping tree in zones 3 through 9 on the U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zones map. American linden, also called basswood, has several cultivars with an assortment of assets. Aspiring beekeepers should investigate this tree.
American linden is a large species with a long trunk that leads to a thick crown of branches. This tree averages between 60 to 100 feet tall. It will require a spot where it will have the room to grow. Look at a mature one from a distance, to see its oval shape in most cases. On younger lindens the bark is light brown with a smooth feel that changes to deeply furrowed and darker brown on older specimens.
The leaves of American linden are at their widest near the base and taper to a short tip. Linden leaves are 4 to 8 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide. In the summer, they are a darker shade of green on the upper surfaces than on the underneath, with some having a silvery sheen on the bottom. The edges of the leaves reveal a series of "teeth" that will remind you of those of a saw. In autumn, the leaves turn either yellowish or brown before falling off.
Select an American linden tree for your yard if you have an interest in bees, since one of the tree's nicknames is "bee tree." The flowers are fragrant and visually arousing; bees find them especially attractive, flocking to this species when the tree is in bloom. Your reward will be some of the finest flavored honey around, as the nectar that the bees gather gives the honey a distinct taste.
Growing American Lindens
American lindens need water as they develop, as this tree cannot withstand drought conditions. When planting, place seedlings in the full sun but in fertile and damp soil, being careful not to select a spot where the roots will be waterlogged. Spray younger trees with pesticides to control such insects as Japanese beetles, aphids and leafminers, which typically attack these trees. Transplanting American lindens is usually not problematic, as the tree will quickly take to its new surroundings.
The Boulevard cultivar of American linden has a pyramid shape and will grow to about 60 feet high. The Continental Appeal linden grows tall but possesses short, narrow branches. A Redmond is a popular hybrid and grows to about 60 feet tall and 30 feet wide.