These days a common question visitors ask our admissions booth staff after they drive up the Linden Allee is "What is happening to the lindens--are they dying? is there a disease?"
I spoke with Old Westbury Gardens' Director of Horticulture Maura McGoldrick-Brush who informed me that the lindens--like all of us in the northeast this summer--our under stress. Maura told me that an arborist from Bartlett Tree Experts visited and checked for blight or any other disease--which there isn't--it's just the effects of the summer. She explained to me that unlike other trees, lindens show the results of climatic stress--high temperatures and minimal water--in the season of stress. Other trees (maples, oaks) will show the effects of this summer's drought next year. She also told me that while the lindens are defoliating now, that there is a chance if the weather improves (i.e. more rain) the lindens will re-leaf later this month or early September.
On a historical landscape such as Old Westbury Gardens it is a constant challenge to care for mature trees--many of our trees are well over 100 years old. Contrary to popular opinion, older trees, like humans, are susceptible to the effects of severe climate changes.