Q: We have a very fragrant tree in our yard, but we have no idea what it is. Can you please help us with its identification? Attached is a photo. — Jackie G.
A: Your tree is a linden. The small, pale yellow flowers have a sweet fragrance, easily detected while walking nearby. Lindens flower for several weeks in June, and bees love visiting these trees, which are an important source of honey.
As the flowers fade and fall, they are eventually replaced by fruits in the form of hard, round nutlets that hang from a stalk with a yellow leaflike bract. Linden leaves are rich green and somewhat heart-shaped.
The botanical genus of linden is Tilia, and there are different species with many named cultivars. Lindens are popular choices for boulevard trees, and many have neat, pyramidal shapes.
Linden types include the American linden, whose other nickname is basswood. Basswood is commonly found in forested areas along rivers and lakes, and develops into a large, broad-spreading shade tree.
Q: I live in a 3-year-old steel sided condominium. The grass is dead about 1 foot out from the garage wall and we aren’t sure why it’s occurring this year. — Holly C.
A: The brown grass in a foot-wide line along the foundation is most likely from heat and moisture stress. The region experienced a record-setting heat stretch during the first two weeks in June, and the high temperatures caused many heat stress issues.
Steel siding can easily reflect heat, compounding the extreme temperatures, and the soil along concrete foundations often dries out faster than other lawn areas. Even though the lawn might be watered, the areas along the foundation can still become moisture-starved, especially during periods of high heat.
Kentucky Bluegrass has the capability to go dormant in heat and drought. When given adequate moisture and cooler temperatures, the grass crowns can begin sending up green shoots once again. Even though grass can go dormant when subjected to heat and drought, there is a point of no return, and grass can be killed if extreme conditions last long enough.
Soak the damaged lawn area well and see if new green grass shoots begin forming within 10 to 14 days. If not, the area might need to be re-seeded.
Q: We have had a brutal garden summer so far with these days of high heat and very little rain. Our perennials have really taken a beating, and our 45 iris plants have not budded and many of the leaves are brown. Our daylilies don’t have buds either and they too have significant brown leaves, even though we’ve watered. The perennial salvia, catmint and wild geraniums are doing great.
Might the iris still set buds or should I cut them back? Should I remove them from the ground and replant in the fall? What about the daylilies? We’re hoping they’ll come back in 2022. — Mary P.
A: Many of our perennials couldn’t endure the extended weeks of extreme heat when the plants were still quite tender. Even though we can apply water, hot air temperatures are a major stress factor.
Daylilies and iris easily scorch under such lengthy heat. Flower bud formation is easily affected, and foliage develops browning of margins and tips.
Even though these plants might not look very pretty, and the iris might not bloom, it's important to leave the foliage intact. The leaves are still feeding the roots and carrying on photosynthesis, even though they might have areas of scorch. Cutting the iris or daylilies back could add another stress. I would leave them intact.
If any of your iris or daylilies need dividing or moving, August through early September is a great time, but for now I would leave them in place.
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.