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 (a cultivar of Littleleaf) 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.
Lindens may be plagued by aphids. They do not hurt the tree, but may result in sticky foliage which attracts bees and wasps. Cottony maple scale may also infest linden. This scale looks like small one-fourth inch cottony masses on the twigs and branches. Again, they cause no harm to the tree, but the scales can create a nuisance.
Occasionally lindens will exhibit limp and distorted foliage. Distorted foliage can be caused by too much or too little water, herbicide applications or mites. Lindens are also very susceptible to some herbicides. Do not blanket apply liquid herbicides or use "weed and feed" fertilizers within the tree root zone. The root zone's radius is two and one-half times the height of the tree. These diagnoses can be tricky.