This is one of the most fragrant trees when it's flowering
"Fielding Questions" columnist Don Kinzler gives advice on a linden tree, as well as what to do about tree suckers sprouting in lawns.
Q: What is the name of the tree in the photo, and are the flowers, or whatever they are, supposed to hang down or grow outward? — Ed. F.
A: The tree in the photo is a linden. There are different species and cultivars, including the American linden, also called basswood, that’s native to much of North America and becomes a large shade tree. Other types are smaller and more tailored, many having a distinctly pyramidal shape.
Distinguishing features of lindens are the heart-shaped leaves and the distinctive flower clusters. Lindens bloom in June with fragrant, pale yellow flowers held in clusters of five to 10. The flowers give way to hard, round seeds, termed nutlets, that hang from a stalk with a leaflike bract. The flowers in your photo look normal.
Lindens are one of the most fragrant trees when they’re flowering, and bees love them. Linden or basswood honey can often be purchased from honey producers.
Q: Last fall I had to remove a couple of trees and now my yard is being completely overtaken by root suckers. I have been trying to pull them but there are so very many. Is there anything else that can be done? Will this be a problem again next year or will the roots from the removed trees begin to be unproductive? — Pamela E.
A: Eventually the roots will disintegrate and become unproductive if the sprouts can be prevented from growing into new trees that will carry on the mother tree’s life. To eliminate the sprouts that pop up in the yard, choose a lawn herbicide containing the active ingredient triclopyr, which will be indicated in the active ingredient section of the label.
Herbicides containing triclopyr won't harm lawn grass but are quite effective on woody-type sprouts that pop up in the lawn. It should be noted, though, that this is not to be used on sprouts arising from, and attached underground, to trees that you wish to keep, because the chemical could be translocated to the mother tree, causing injury or death.
It might take persistence during the next year to eliminate sprouts from your cut-down tree, but if you treat the sprouts as they appear, the roots will eventually run out of energy and enough herbicide will be taken internally to kill the root system.
Q: We’ve found many, many starts of lilacs and Juneberries in our woods. We’d like to transplant some of the lilacs to create a windbreak around our yard, but now that we see how many Juneberries we have, I'm wondering if they would work better. Which shrub or tree would be best and will survive transplanting well? And what is the best way or time to transplant them? — Rita S.
A: Both lilacs and Juneberries work well for windbreaks and have been used since pioneer days around farmsteads and shelterbelts. The best time for digging and transplanting is in early spring before the young plants leaf out. Digging and transplanting during the heat of summer is riskier. Plants can be tagged now so you know which ones to move in spring.
If you'd like to try it now, be sure to have the new planting area well-prepared before digging the plants, so transplanting can move quickly. The size that's easiest to transplant out of the woods as you’re doing is 2 feet or less. Larger plants will usually suffer greater root loss, take longer to establish and soon be overpassed by smaller, successful transplants.
Dig and move the plants quickly, never letting the root systems dry out. Dig with as much root as possible. Replant quickly and water immediately. If done carefully, midsummer transplanting can be successful, although risky.
Both plants have their advantages. Juneberries are faster growing, while lilacs can take a few years to establish before they take off. Lilacs have fewer pests, and tend to last many, many years. Hopefully you have room for each in your windbreak.
If you have a gardening or lawn care question, email Don Kinzler, NDSU Extension-Cass County, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city and state for appropriate advice.