Linden is Basswood. If you are asking what starts to produce nectar the soonest in terms of age after planting I would say Black Locust although it isn't as consistent of a honey producer as Basswood. Soil type will be a factor also.
Black locust is the fastest to bloom, followed by tulip poplar, then basswood as a distant third. The basswood is a slow grower and takes years to get big enough to bloom. If you are yound and going to stay put you can plant all three and have overlapping bloom times someday.
tulip poplar is a great shade tree here in the south. ours took abt 5 yrs to start blooming our 10 yr-old tree is abt 25 ft tall and 20 yr tree is abt 50 ft. but yes a lot of other stuff is blooming in May when they do here.
Dan nailed it.
You can't beat the Bee Bee Tree. They are easy to start from seed. I started them in the summer here in Ohio then potted them and left them outside until a hard freeze was comming; then I put them in the garage for the winter. This spring I moved them in and out as the weather allowed. They are doing great. I already have 14 planted on my property and adding more this year.
Just a side note on the Tulip poplars. I have one in my back yard and I don't think it's the best tree to have near a house. My in constantly shedding large branches in wind storms. So keep that in mind when planting them.
I say stick with the native trees. Black locust and Tulip poplar are my favorites and are also indigenous to SE PA. Basswood or Linden is not native to SE PA, but is in other parts of PA. However the largest Basswood in the nation resides in Pottstown, PA, which is in SE PA. When you plant trees that are indigenous to your region, they have a much better chance of thriving as opposed to something from some other place on the planet. Typically in PA, black locust are found along streams, rivers and roadsides. I love how Tulip poplar generally grows, straight up, its survival in depends on it. Tulip poplar must be able to compete with other fast growing tall trees.
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