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Harvest Gold

Since we're examining landscaping and gardening at the community and neighborhood level this month, it sounds like as good a time as any to talk about street trees. When it comes to reliably hardy trees which are also rugged enough to do double duty as boulevard trees, the mighty linden comes to mind. Fastidious of form and tough as well, it is one of the most refined boulevard trees available for use in the North.

Many of us are familiar with the native American linden, also known as the basswood, and the littleleaf linden of European origin. But a new star is emerging on the linden scene, and it comes from Mongolia, Siberia and the Manchurian region of China, of all places. Mongolian linden has the characteristically attractive pyramidal shape of most lindens, but it's interestingly shaped leaves are distinctively toothed. It also has the added benefit of attractive flaking bark, and it is among the hardiest of all lindens.

Harvest Gold is a relatively new cultivar of the Mongolian linden from Manitoba. It's a tough tree which was selected for its majestic upright form, its strong central leader and its disease-free foliage. But best of all, it has consistently spectacular gold fall color that makes it stand out like a beacon in the fall landscape. It's reliably hardy to zone 3 and definitely worth a try in most urban locations in zone 2.

This choice specimen will do just fine as a street tree, as it is both tough and durable. And like a good street tree, it is clean, with no messy fruit problems. It will also make a fine shade tree for community parks and in most suburban yards, growing to about 40' tall at maturity. As with most lindens, it requires adequate moisture without standing in pools of water, although it is quite adaptable to various soil types.