How to Prune a Linden Tree

Updated February 21, 2017

Also called basswood, the linden tree (Tilia spp.) is a medium to large shade tree growing to a mature height of 50 to 80 feet. It is tolerant of shade and a wide range of soil types, but grows best in full sun and rich, moist soil. Linden trees produce clusters of fragrant, creamy flowers around midsummer and their leaves turn yellow to brown in autumn. Linden trees require very little pruning, but should be pruned yearly in late winter to remove unnecessary or unwanted branches and to maintain the tree's rounded canopy.

Cut off any dead, diseased or broken branches. Use the pruning clippers for branches smaller than 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and use the pruning saw to remove larger branches.

Remove lateral branches below a height of 6 to 8 feet. Make the cut near the main trunk, about 1 to 2 inches away from it. This will create a specimen with a long, straight trunk that people can walk beneath and a full canopy of leaves.

Selectively prune lateral branches above the height determined in Step 2, so the remaining branches are evenly spaced vertically around the trunk and growing off it at an angle of at least 25 degrees. This will give branches added strength against breakage from snow or high winds.

Prune out suckers, also called water sprouts, at the base of the tree at any time of the year.


Prune linden trees in late winter before the buds begin to swell.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning clippers
  • Pruning saw
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About the Author

Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.