Linden trees in general, are a super landscape trees with several varieties and cultivars to chose from. Tilia americana ‘Redmond’ in my opinion is an outstanding representative of the species. Like most of her family, the Basswoods, she tolerates extremely unkind climatic conditions. This variety was selected by a nurseryman in Nebraska in 1927, speaking volumes to its tolerance for adverse weather conditions and by no means a newcomer to the trade. The variety was selected from a large stand of trees as it had a beautiful conical shape, not uncommon to the species, yet it was very dense and perfectly shaped. Originally, this plant was selected and propagated as an ideal shade tree for landscapes or street boulevard use. Redmond can reach a height of nearly 20 m with a majestic spread of approximately 10 m. The bark of this tree is greyish and typically branched higher up the trunk which lends to being a super shade tree. The branching is relatively dense and as the tree matures, its remarkable pyramidal shape tends to become more rounded, still very attractive and occurring with great age. Recently, I have seen a great many urban plantings by municipal parks departments in replacement of diseased and disfigured Schubert Chokecherries. In silhouette, the Redmond is pyramidal, compact and practically each specimen looks the same.
The foliage of the Linden is heart shaped and somewhat glossy with a fall colour usually yellow. One particularly pleasant aspect of this tree and all Lindens, is the profusion of flowers in the spring. The aroma is exquisite, attracting bees and other pollinators to feast on the nectar. In many European cities, the Lindens or Limes as they are referred to, have their flowers harvested for the production of a fine wine. In Berlin, Under der Linden is a major thoroughfare bisecting the city boasting mature Linden trees lining the boulevard. The flower and winged bract are rather unusual looking, but the bees don’t mind at all, buzzing in frenzy during the season. The resulting fruit is a tiny, almost pea-sized nut that forms under the winged bract, which in time whirls its way down to the ground, great amusement for children of all ages. The honey gleaned from Linden flowers is particularly amber coloured or darker with a distinctive flavour, try some if you can.
The Redmond Linden will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions from somewhat alkaline to acidic, making it a broad-spectrum usage tree. The specimens that seem to do the best are growing in well drained soil with ample moisture during the heat of summer. The Linden group in general will tolerate dry conditions however their growth rate, being rather slow in the first place, is hampered even more. Redmond Linden is used as a boulevard tree with a significant set back from the roadway, as her spread could interfere with traffic. Redmond is not the best Linden candidate for heavily polluted, urban centres as her foliage will brown and turn crisp on the margins.
Other offerings in the Linden group include Harvest Gold and Greenspire. Harvest Gold doesn’t keep the tight uniformity of her cousins but is used extensively for streetscapes. The bark on this variety exfoliates or flakes off throughout the season, giving the trunk a somewhat camouflaged appearance, like a London Plane Tree. In the home landscape, Harvest Gold will add interest to the overall look and will grant you incredible fall colour. Greenspire, which is a trademarked specimen, is somewhat more diminutive than the rest of the Lindens. Her foliage is smaller and more delicate with a decent fall colour also.
All in all, the Linden or Basswoods offer a range of sizes and foliar densities each very tolerant of adverse conditions, high winds and extreme cold. Well worth a look and perhaps there will be honey to sweeten the decision.
December 1st, 2018