Normal growth for a Linden

Asked June 28, 2020, 10:51 PM EDT

We planted a Linden the same time we planted a Box elder maple, about 7 years ago. They were the same size when we bought them. The maple is now about 2 stories high with a thick canopy & trunk. The linden is only about a story high, the trunk & limbs are still fairly thin. Canopy not very robust. Unsure if it has normal growth or is stunted? Images #1 & 2 are the Linden. Image #3 is the Maple. Thank you.

Larimer County Colorado

3 Responses


Lindens are known for their pyramidal growth habit, so the shape is a little unusual.

More concerning to me is that it looks like the linden was planted too deeply. After seven years it would be good to have a root flare at the base--where the trunk tapers out. Lindens are notorious for having root problems, so I'm wondering if there is something going on below ground that we can't see?

It would be good to pull back the grass and dig a bit to see if you can find the flare/structural roots. Replace the grass with wood mulch, keeping it 6" away from the trunk.

Also, lindens do have a slower growth rate than maples, so the size of the tree isn't that concerning...the maple also might be getting more water, was a healthier tree, was planted properly, etc.

Thank you for your response Dr. O,

There is a root flare, it was overgrown with grass/weed mat. We have since removed it. Pictures are attached.

About 3 years ago, we discovered that the water from the neighbors behind us (sometimes irrigation, sometimes snow melt) was pooling at the base of the Linden. My husband put in a drainage system at that time, so that problem is resolved. I’m unsure how long it had been going on before we discovered it. Perhaps water logged roots for a prolonged period damaged it?

Is there anything else you would recommend moving forward?

Thank you for your time,
Kris Rivera

Hi Kris,

I'm glad you were able to unearth the root flare! Well done.

At this point, I would just add a 4-5" thick layer of wood mulch around the tree (you can go out to the fence), keeping it 6-12" away from the trunk of the tree. Then continue with your regular practices and hope for the best!

Trees are starting to set their buds for next year now, so you can look for the bud formation along the branches. Keep the tree watered--but not too much! :)