American Linden (Tilia Americana)
American Linden is native to New England and throughout the upper Midwest. However it will grow in Canada from New Brunswick to Manitoba, southward to Georgia and Texas. In nature rich, moist bottom lands and hillsides are its favorite haunts. It is a handsome shade tree, transplants easily, grows rapidly, and produces useful wood. It does not tolerate the pollution of the urban area as well as the Littleleaf Linden, but it does fine in the suburbs and exurbs. American Linden is valuable as a wildlife tree with hollows in mature trees serving as homes to a variety of wildlife.
American Lindens commonly grow anywhere from 40 to 50 feet, but are capable of growing to 100 to 150 feet at maturity. Their spread is typically about 2/3rds their height. These trees are notable for their large, dense canopy making them superb shade trees. Their branching begins relatively low to the ground on the multiple trunks that commonly form just above ground level. Medium-fast growers, they can be expected to grow 30 feet in 10 years. Their long-lived root systems support these trees for a lifespan of 100 to 150 years. While working at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in 1993, workmen discovered that what had been thought to be two Lindens at about 50 years old were in fact old enough to have been there during the Civil War.
Lindens are deciduous, shedding their foliage every fall. Leaves of the American Linden are larger than those of other Lindens. They are roundish-oval in shape, 4 to 8 inches long, and grow alternately along the branches and twigs. They have toothed edges. Their size causes American Linden foliage to appear somewhat coarse compared to its European cousins. They emerge in late April or early May as light, lime green, turning to medium green in summer, then golden yellow in the fall. Their undersides are a bit paler than their tops. They turn brown and drop fairly early, at the beginning of October. .
American Lindens produce profuse clusters of pale yellowish flowers that droop at the ends of their branches in late June or early July after the leaves are fully developed. Made up of 5 or 10 smaller blossoms, these 2 to 3 inch flower clusters are extremely fragrant and honeybees love them. Over the season these flowers give way to small, woody, pea sized brown balls that hang like ornaments from the branches from early September through late October and even later. These fruits do not attract much wildlife.
American Linden Choices
Redmond grows rapidly, has largest leaves, dense foliage and is particularly suited for urban settings. This variety was selected by the Society of Municipal Arborists as the tree of the year 2000. - It has an excellent pyramidal form. Twigs of current season's growth are reddish. Often listed as a cultivar of T. x euchlora. It is questionable as to species origin. Probably a hybrid. Erecta is a narrower and more upright form of American Linden. Fastigiata is a very attractive tree with a narrow pyramidal crown.with ascending branches. American Sentry is a symmetrical, pyramidal shape. Bailyard (Frontyard TM) is a symmetrical, pyramidal tree becoming rounded with age. Boulevard is a narrow, pyramidal tree with ascending branches. The flowers and fall foliage color are yellow. Lincoln is a pyramidal form reaching a height of 35 feet and a width of 25 feet. Wandell (Legend TM) has upright, well placed branches, a single leader growth habit, light gray bark, and bright red buds and twigs in winter. Growth rate is medium to fast. A pyramidal tree, 40 feet tall and 30 feet wide. The fall color is yellow. Reported to resist rust.