The linden tree, or basswood, is a fast-growing tree that is popular with gardeners due to its adaptability and attractiveness. Shading trees are traditionally grown to be useful, rather than ornamental, but the Linden tree produces pleasant and attractive flowers that are a bonus to any keen flower grower.
Despite the ease with which the linden tree grows there are some mistakes made by amateur gardeners which seriously impair its growth, and may even kill it. Keep the following mistakes in mind when growing a Linden tree.
Mistake 1 - Seed growing
Linden trees can be grown from seed, but amateur gardeners often make mistakes when attempting to produce a Linden tree this way. The Linden seed is not always 100% viable, so it is important to bring home more than a handful of seeds in order to ensure that a few seedlings are produced.
It is hard to tell simply by looking at the seed whether it is fertilized or not. The pericap of the Linden tree seed will be hollow, and a float-test (putting the seed in water) can help to ensure that the seeds planted will be viable (i.e., traditional witch-ducking, any seed that floats to the surface should be discarded).
Mistake 2 - Weevils in Seeds
Gathering Linden tree seeds that are infected with a seed weevil that eats the inside of the seed. Look for holes in the outer husk of the seed to see if there is any weevil damage. Even if the seed is viable, no gardener wants to grow a seed contaminated by weevils or larvae.
Mistake 3 - Impatience
Eager gardeners sometimes make the mistake of becoming too impatient with the seeds once they are planted. Germination can take place as long as 5 years after planting. Linden tree seeds frequently take 2 years before germination begins.
One way of easing the wait is to scar the seed casing, making it less difficult for the embryo tree to break free. This also allows more water to penetrate the seed, which encourages germination. To scar the seed, place it in a food blender and blend for a few seconds or put the seed in a paper towel with some course sand, and shake for about 5 minutes.
Mistake 4 - Planting
Be careful not to plant the linden tree too deeply; the leaves will become brown and start falling off, even though the limbs are still green. The best solution to this is not to plant the tree too deeply in the first place, but if it has been done, then pull soil back around the tree base to help green shoots next year.
Mistake 5 - Pests
Treating infestations and problems which occur on the linden tree: aphids, for example, produce a sickly sap called honeydew. This sap can attract a black mold, making everything in the vicinity of the Linden tree look as though it were rotting. Use an organic insect spray, or soap and water, to get rid of these pests.