Linden trees are popular shade trees that are good choices for backyards, urban areas and parks. Lindens produce a round, nut-like fruit and sweetly scented blossoms. They are hardy trees that grow well in any type of well-drained soil and are fairly pest-resistant. Lindens are low-maintenance trees that require little pruning due to their pyramid shape.
American Linden (Tilia americana)
A native of areas east of the Missouri River, the American Linden, also known as the Basswood; is often found in parks and along streets. American Lindens reach a height between 50 to 70 feet. Leaves are heart-shaped and are 3 to 6 inches wide. The tree produces a creamy white to yellow flower that is sweetly scented.
Trees have a pyramid shape when younger, rounding as they get older. American Lindens like well-drained loam and clay soils. They prefer full sun but will tolerate shade and like to be watered regularly.
American Lindens make good dens for small animals. They produce a light wood that is used for lumber, furniture, tongue depressors and the soft wood is considered excellent for carving.
Littleleaf Linden (Tilia cordata)
Considered the most popular of the linden trees, the littleleaf or greenspire linden grows to heights between 40 to 50 feet. Found in most areas of the country, the littleleaf is used in many towns along streets and roads. It is a fast-growing tree that has a dense oval-shaped crown and provides deep shade.
The littleleaf has heart-shaped leaves that are 2 to 3 inches wide and deep green in color. Yellow, pleasantly scented flowers show in the summer and a brown nut-like fruit appears at the end of stems.
The littleleaf likes partial shade to full sun and clay, loam or sandy soils. It prefers to be watered regularly. The wood is white and soft and used as drawer sides for inexpensive furniture.
Crimean Linden (Tilia x euchlora)
The rapid-growing crimean linden reaches heights of 40 to 50 feet. It has a pyramid-like shape when young and becomes more oval shaped it matures. Leaves are 2 to 4 inches wide and are shiny, deep green and are heart shaped. Crimean Lindens like well-drained, moist soil conditions and prefer full sun exposure.
Found throughout the US in parks, school yards and along streets, the Crimean provides a good amount of dense shade. Fragrant flowers of yellowish-white bloom during the early summer months and nut-like fruits appear on the stems. The Crimean produces a wood that is light and soft that is used for carving and in cheaper designs of furnishings.
Silver Linden (Tilia tomentosa)
The silver linden is a popular shade tree that is found lining streets or decorating yards throughout the United States. They grow to heights between 50 and 70 feet. Young trees are pyramid in shape but adult trees take on a more oval shape. They have dark green, heart shaped leaves that are 2 to 4 inches wide. These fast-growing trees do not attract wildlife but bees enjoy the fragrant yellow flowers that bloom during the summer months.
Silver lindens like well drained soil, regular waterings and prefer sunny to partially shaded areas. Wood is light in color and used for lumber and furniture.