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How to Prune a Linden Tree

flowers of a linden image by Ludmila Galchenkova from <a href=''></a>

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Prune The Linden Tree?

The best time to prune the American linden is while the tree is dormant during the coldest winter months. Attempt to complete all pruning before early spring when the buds begin to form. The reduced flow of fluids in the tree during the time helps the pruning wounds heal quicker. New growth that becomes too thick or grows toward the center of the crown should be pruned from early to mid-summer to prevent overgrowth that blocks other branches. Pruning the linden tree involves removing dead or damaged branches as the first step. Remove branches that appear weak or have a crotch angle of less than 30 degrees. A wide-angled branch is structurally more sound than narrow-angled branches. Contact a professional to prune branches that you are unable to reach safely or that are close to power lines. Wash the blades thoroughly with a solution made from 1 part household bleach and 9 parts clean water or use isopropyl alcohol. Dull tools are difficult to use and may damage the tree.

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