Underutilized Trees for Urban Use: ‘Harvest Gold’ Linden

Glossy summer foliage of ‘Harvest Gold’ linden. Photo by James Kaechele

This post comes to us from NYSUFC Board Member and New York Tree Trust Development Director James Kaechele. 

Harvest Gold Linden (Tilia cordata x mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’)

As an open-pollinated hybrid of T. cordata and T. mongolica, ‘Harvest Gold’ linden steals the best from each parent. Searching through rows of lindens at Moon Nursery in Chesapeake City, Maryland in early 2009, I noticed this tree was different. ‘Harvest Gold’ does not share the liability of ‘Greenspire’ linden’s wide and twiggy form. Nor does it suffer from the often sparse crown of a young ‘Redmond’ or the frequently crowded branching of silver linden. Time may still reveal a fatal flaw for ‘Harvest Gold’, but after planting and observing it for the last ten years across diverse New York City landscapes, I am prepared to say this is an excellent linden.

‘Harvest Gold’ linden surviving and thriving in Queens. Photo by James Kaechele

‘Harvest Gold’ maintains a central leader while young, making for easy clearance pruning without compromising overall form. Branching off that central leader is regular and balanced; these characteristics lend themselves to a tighter teardrop/pyramidal shape. The leaves are a deep green through summer and have a loosely toothed margin. The cultivar name accurately describes a rich and lustrous fall color that photos do not always do justice. The bark is different than most lindens—exfoliating and flaky with a rich tan color underneath. It is reported that in time this cultivar becomes more handsome, almost like a mature Ostrya virginiana.

Trio of ‘Harvest Gold’ lindens in summer. Photo by James Kaechele
Same trio of lindens in fall. 
‘Harvest Gold’ fall color potential. Photo from Jeffries Nurseries Ltd. jeffriesnurseries.com

Reported mature height of ‘Harvest Gold’ is 40 feet (12 m) with a spread of 30 feet (9 m). Around the corner from my gym, B&B nursery stock planted at 2.5 to 3 inches (63.5 to 76 mm) in spring 2010 is now in excess of 24 feet (7.3 m) in height and 6 inches (152 mm) DBH. The vigor is impressive; ‘Harvest Gold’ has a USDA Zone 3 cold hardiness rating.  

Bark of maturing ‘Harvest Gold’ linden. Photo by James Kaechele

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