En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Thursday - November 06, 2008

From: Evanston, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Over-trimming of native linden tree
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, My huge beautiful linden tree was just way over trimmed. It is planted near the house, so they cut most of the branches on that side all the way back to the trunk. I now have half of a tree. The arborist is claiming some new growth will fill it in come Spring. Is that correct or am I now the sad owner of half of a tree? Thank you so much for your help!!!

ANSWER:

Tilia americana var. heterophylla (American basswood), native to Illinois, is a very large tree, often with sprouts coming up at the base making a grove.  It can grow to 60 to 90 feet in height, sometimes higher, with width up to half that. So, our feeling is that maybe the tree is simply too close to the house. The way it was trimmed is unfortunate, but the branches may have been actually in contact with the siding, which is never good. Not only that, but the roots of that tree are probably well under your foundation. Obviously, there's not anything you can do about the tree's position now, but it is something to keep in mind the next time a tree is planted. Some new growth will no doubt come out on that side, but it is always going to be lopsided, we're afraid. We don't know how old or how big the tree is now, but possibly, over time, the lower branches all the way around could be trimmed up, giving the tree a taller trunk, which seems to be the way the tree grows naturally. 

Read this article from Floridata on Tilia Americana for more information and pictures.

 

More Trees Questions

Tree for a Missouri yard
March 10, 2012 - Our front yard tree died. We have landscaping that needs shade. We are in Zone 5, looking for a fast/medium growing shade tree that does not produce anything that falls into the grass and will allow t...
view the full question and answer

Growing pecan and fruit trees near Canyon Lake, Texas
July 07, 2014 - I just bought a property on the north side of Canyon Lake in the Hill Country of Texas. Most of the trees around are cedar, and a few live oak. I know I have seen beautiful Pecan trees as well as seve...
view the full question and answer

Unusual green fruit
August 17, 2009 - Unknown "fruit" in my backyard I have large (softball size) nobbly green orbs finding their way into my backyard. They sort of look like a tennis ball left out in the rain to rot, but they are o...
view the full question and answer

Anacacho orchid tree (Bauhinia lunarioides) and the freeze in Austin
February 03, 2010 - I just wanted to say that your answer in today's Austin American-Statesman about recent freeze damage to Anacacho orchid trees was right on for ours as well. We're in north central Austin and all t...
view the full question and answer

Tree well for partially exposed roots from Lake Kiowa TX
May 05, 2012 - Medium oak tree along lake has partially exposed roots. Can we make a barrier (what kind?) and fill the roots behind it with topsoil, compost, etc.? Tree and roots are above the waterline. Lake occ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center