March 17, 2010

Linden Tree

Tilia cordata 'Greenspire'
My poor, poor Littleleaf Linden.  Basswood.  Called a Lime Tree in Europe because of a confusing linguisitics heritage from medieval English, and a Bee Tree on both sides of the Atlantic for obvious reasons in June when the pretty flowers are swarmed.

My Tilia cordata 'Greenspire'.  Murdered in December 2008.

It won't live.  The damage in these pictures looks bad enough, but it's even worse.  Where the outer bark is still whole around the back, it has pulled away from the inner bark, leaving a kind of detached wrapping that the wind whistles through as it swirls around inside.


This was not one of my little one gallon wonders.  This was a large expensive specimen planted by Bartlett Tree Experts in 2007.  It's in our front yard, it's the focal point as you come down the street to round the cul de sac, it needed to be a statement tree.

And it was.  It had a nice trim pear shape form, a very dense head of heart shaped leaves, good yellow color in Fall.  This one was too young to bloom very heavily yet, but I knew it would eventually get tons of sweet flowers, and lots of bees.  It also got lots of Japanese beetles, lindens do.  But it withstood those attacks very well, and was thriving.  

Until December 25, 2008.

In August of '08 I put plastic spiral wrapping around the trunk to protect it from the male deer who rub their antlers in late summer and fall to remove shedding velvet.  Trees this size are particularly vulnerable.  They don't bother bigger trunks, but this caliper seems about right to them I guess.  And linden bark is smooth, apparently an appealing feature.  It was ugly, seeing that plastic wrap on our specimen tree, right in line with our front door.  So when the rut was over, in the first part of winter, I took it off --- removed it Christmas Eve, December 24, so the decorated yard would look nice for the holiday.  When I woke up Christmas morning the bark had been shredded raw.  


My lime tree lived on into 2009, and partially leafed out, but it's looking sparse, and it won't survive.

In Celtic regions in the middle ages, the lime tree was sacred and it was common for judicial cases to be heard while the court sat under a lime tree, as it was said to inspire fairness and justice.  Before this tree is removed I am going to find the buck that did this and bring him to justice under my linden tree.

Tilia cordata:
in University of Connecticut's plant files
in Mobot's database

Note:
In my neighborhood lindens are the tree of choice for antler activities.  There are two others planted in areas nearby, and both have suffered damage along the trunk, although they seem to be surviving.  George Valchar, who wrote about his Connecticut gardens, says he planted a 12 foot linden specimen only to lose it immediately to a bad case of antler rub (and despite the title of his book, he doesn't write about his personal experiences; it's just an inventory of plants in his yard.  So this solitary personal fact about his linden and deer jumped out at me.)

Lindens and Connecticut deer ---  what's the deal?



9 comments:

  1. Oh no! I planted 12 Tilia cordata "Greenspire" last May in my Lime Walk. They are amazing trees, luckily there are no deer in Owen Sound, otherwise I would have to bring themdown for a public hearing (hanging) under your poor murdered linden. Are you going to replace him? Or are you going to deem him irreplaceable and go with something else?

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  2. Oh no! I planted 12 Tilia cordata "Greenspire" last May in my Lime Walk. They are amazing trees, luckily there are no deer in Owen Sound, otherwise I would have to bring themdown for a public hearing (hanging) under your poor murdered linden. Are you going to replace him? Or are you going to deem him irreplaceable and go with something else?

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  3. You can probably delete one of these comments, although they are :pearls of wisdom", lol.

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  4. Deborah, thanks for all your comments :-)

    Your Lime Walk must be gorgeous... a whole line of these shapely trees, like the avenue of a European city. Pictures, please! Later this spring I will replace mine, but with another tree. The lindens here are just magnets for the rutting bucks.

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  5. Laurrie, Sorry to see the remnants of a sad xmas present from the deer! I'm sure you will find something else wonderful to fill its spot :-)

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  6. That sucks! We have deer here, but we're surrounded by so many acres of bottomland that we don't have the same problem many other gardeners do. If we did I think I would despair.

    I didn't know that deer would seek out a particular type of tree to rub their antlers on -- I find tatters of velvet at random here, once on a rugosa -- but I guess unfortunately the Linden is a luxury for the deer in that regard. Too bad, it is a beautiful tree.

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  7. Garden Ms. S and sweet bay, thank you for your sympathy. It really was tragic and I got pretty upset.

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  8. Aw, I'm sorry your tree got massacred :(

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  9. Thanks for the condolences Kyna. It really was sad!

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