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Linden Tree Pests

By Kimberly Sharpe

The deciduous American linden (Tilia Americana), a popular ornamental shade tree, grows to a height of 60 to 100 feet. The tree often suffers insect infestations, but they pose no real danger to a healthy specimen. Mice and voles can girdle the tree and result in its death in areas of heavy weed infestations.

Foliage Damage

Infestations of defoliating insect pests is common on the linden tree. The spring cankerworm (Paleacrita vernata), forest tent caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria), linden looper (Erannis tiliaria), basswood leaf miner (Baliosus nervosus), white-marked tussock moth (Orgyia leucostigma), fall cankerworm (Alsophila pometaria), and the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) all cause foliage damage to the tree, but are not a serious threat. Scale infestations can also occur on the tree's stems, which can cause the foliage to wilt.


The most serious insect pest of the tree is the linden borer (Saperda vestita). The insect bores long tunnels into the base of the tree. A heavy infestation can seriously weaken a young, old or sickly tree. The tree may die if the insects are allowed to flourish.


Aphids tend to be a constant problem on linden trees. They do very little damage to the tree, but when they occur in great abundance, they secrete a honeydew like substance that quickly molds. The black mold looks unattractive on the tree's foliage and stems. It also falls to the ground in a fine powder, and can cover walkways, other plants, garden furniture and automobiles beneath the tree.


Maintain the tree's overall health to lessen the impact of insect pests. Water and fertilize the linden regularly. A stressed tree is more susceptible to insects. If a tree suffers from a heavy pest infestation, utilize insecticides to gain control.


About the Author


Based in Oregon, Kimberly Sharpe has been a writer since 2006. She writes for numerous online publications. Her writing has a strong focus on home improvement, gardening, parenting, pets and travel. She has traveled extensively to such places as India and Sri Lanka to widen and enhance her writing and knowledge base.