We have two Little Leaf Lindens along the driveway. They seem to be in...

Asked May 14, 2015, 3:55 PM EDT

We have two Little Leaf Lindens along the driveway. They seem to be in distress this spring - sparse leaves, not much vigor. What can we do to rejuvenate them? If fertilize - what type is needed? Or? They are about 30 years old and have done well thus far. We didn't have much snow this year, but they have come through both a lot and none before.

Polk County Wisconsin winter damage linden tree horticulture

1 Response

Dear gardener,

Thanks for contacting us. The erratic weather in many areas has trees stressed. It is possible the buds began to activate early, but a late cold spell damaged the leaf buds. I suggest you take a wait and see approach, since the leaves may be delayed and may still bud out.

Do not fertilize a stressed tree or plant since this could stimulate growth that only puts more stress on the tree. However, you might want to spread a half-inch of cured compost over the entire root zone, and make sure the trees are hydrated with 2 inches of water (including any rain) per week.

In another month, check for dead limbs or twigs that have clearly died back. Scratch the surfaces to see if there is green tissue under the bark. If you must remove dead tissue, always prune back to a live bud or branch union.

Unless there is some other problem, the trees will most likely leaf out in a few weeks.