Asked June 20, 2018, 6:10 PM EDT

We have a problem with a Linden tree in our backyard. This tree was professionally planted ten years ago by a commercial company specializing in Garden needs, so I would hope that it was planted properly. The tree was about 8ft tall when planted and is now less than 12 feet tall, so it has grown very little in these past ten years.

It started showing problems right from the start, but we were hoping that it would “pick up” after a few years. Yes our winters are harsh in Timmins, Ontario, but there are many healthy Lindens right in our neighbour’s yard, less than twelve feet away from our tree. The leaves seem to be misshapen, drooping. There has been no construction work, nor changes near it, nor do we have squirrels, or damaging insects. A fence is located 5 feet from the tree, near the back of our property.

There are several white spots of moss or fungus from top to bottom.

Outside United States

3 Responses

The best idea is to have a certified arborist come evaluate and definitively diagnose the problem and give you some treatment options. Search for reputable arborists in your area here:

Read more about borers here:

Read about sapsucker damage and view the characteristic pattern of their holes here:

This publication from the University of Minnesota may help you self diagnose your tree problem:

Thanks, G.

There are no registered arborist in our area...can someone give a opinion?

I will repeat that you should contact a LOCAL certified arborist or a research based tree disease/care program like Master Gardeners or some place in Canada like the Northern Ontario Forest Health Research station.
The white patches are lichens. LIchens are a symbiotic relationship between an algae and a fungus. By themselves they are not a hazard to your tree, but I generally associate their presence with a lack of tree vigor and as you detail, the trees are in poor health.
In addition to looking for the signs of the insect damage, you should also look for symptoms of spot anthracnose- which is a leaf disease and white rot or sap rot which is a fungal disease that affects the tree during cool and humid weather. Linden becomes prone to white rot during winters, and this fungus attacks those linden trees that have been damaged due to drought. Fungus which lies on cankered wood is spread during spring, this is because they are transported in wind and air. Trees which are infected will develop small blisters on the woody surface like the trunk and branches. Infected trees will show the same symptoms as black rot infections- wilting, lack of vigor, and eventually death of the top of the tree. The tree's power to transfer water and nutrients will be stopped due to the growth of this infection, and it will eventually die.
Check the pH of the soil to make sure it between 6.5 and 6.8. It is not, try to make necessary changes.
Check for the root flare of the trunk to make sure that it is not planted too deeply. If you can't see the flare, see about excavating excess soil or even in the winter, raising the tree up.
Check to make sure that the drainage is adequate. Does water pool up for long periods over the roots? If so, can you raise the tree, or improve drainage?
Also, is the lawn having herbicide spread on it? If so, you need to stop spreading herbicide/weed killer over the roots of the tree.

Hope this helps.