How to Prune a Linden Tree


The linden tree (Tilia americana) makes an ideal landscape addition for its attractive foliage and fragrant edible flowers. The blooms can be harvested and used for tea. Linden trees may reach 75 feet in height. Gardeners can prune small linden trees by hand but should call a tree trimming service for those they cannot reach with a ladder. Prune in the late winter to early spring to shape the linden tree and remove unhealthy wood.

Step 1

Inspect and remove from the linden tree's branches dead, diseased or damaged growth. Dead branches are brittle. Diseased and damaged branches can ooze sap, bear growths, be discolored or appear broken.

Step 2

Combine 1 part bleach and 10 parts water in a bucket to make a sanitizing solution. Place your pruning tools in the bucket.

Step 3

Remove the dead and damaged wood branch-by-branch by cutting it off at the base. Cut branches that are 1 to 3 inches thick using a hand saw and smaller branches using anvil pruners.

Step 4

Remove limbs that cross against other limbs and low or downward-growing branches that impede movement under the linden tree. Cut these branches off at the base or cut back to a lateral branch.

Step 5

Clip off vertical offshoots growing from limbs, since these interfere with the tree's growth. Clip off suckers that grow from the tree trunk or the base of old pruning cuts.

Step 6

Trim long branches back to lateral side shoots to control their size. Cut back just after the lateral branch intersection.

Step 7

Thin out the tree's canopy to increase air circulation. Remove weak limbs, such as those that area as thin as a pencil. Trim off limbs that make less than a 30-degree angle with the trunk, since this growth interferes with the tree's development.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Anvil pruners
  • Lopping shears
  • Hand saw


  • Colorado State: Plant Talk - Linden Tree
  • North Dakota State University: American Linden Tree or Basswood
  • University of Minnesota: Pruning Trees and Shrubs
Keywords: prune linden tree, trim linden tree, tree pruning tips

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.