En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 17, 2009

From: Manitowoc, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: How to prune my Linden tree?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


We have a 15 yr old Linden in the backyard. North side of home. It can use some pruning at the lower branches. Which branches do we prune and when? Also we have some river birches back there. Other side of the backyard. 2 clumps of 2. The bark is cracked, but they are holding their own. When to prune and where? Thank-you


The short answer to the "when" part of the question is "Not Now". Pruning of trees is best done in the late winter/early spring as the trees are breaking dormancy. This helps to ensure the healing of the cuts. Pruning can also be done in late fall after leaf drop.

Pruning of mature trees can be quite an undertaking, so I am going to refer you to several websites that address various aspects of tree care and pruning.

A publication by the South Dakota Dept. of Agricululture ; "The Basics of Tree Pruning".

An article from the Penn State University College of Agricultural Sciences; "Pruning Mature Trees is Best Left to Professionals".

"Tree Care Information" from the International Society of Arborculture. While on this page, click on the "Why Hire an Arborist" article from the menu on the left side.

For some help close to home, check with the folks at the Manitowoc County Cooperative Extension Office .

The Wisconsin Arborists Association can assist you in finding an arborist in your area.

Somewhere in all of this information I found the truism: Pruning trees is more that cutting off branches.




More Trees Questions

Positioning a bald cypress among cattails in Silver Spring MD
April 30, 2009 - We have a rain garden, half of which is fairly overrun with broad- and narrow-leaf cattails. We've learned to be aggressive in thinning these out 2 to 3 times during the growing season. We also have ...
view the full question and answer

Shade Tree for Sunny California Yard
April 03, 2015 - I am getting ready to sell my home in Van Nuys, California. My home had a beautiful fruitless mulberry that had to be removed. My front door faces west. The house is now very hot. I would like to know...
view the full question and answer

Hardy Tree for Kansas
March 14, 2012 - I'm hoping to find a tree that is hardy and will survive all rough seasons in Wichita, KS. The spot is in front of a northern exposure window.
view the full question and answer

Twig girdlers attacking an Elm tree in Wimberly, TX.
October 27, 2009 - I was looking at my small 6' cedar elm and noticed that four (4) 1/2" limbs have circle cuts a 1/8" wide completely around them and they are dead. Is this some insect or maybe a bigger critter? I h...
view the full question and answer

Identification of red leaf tree with wispy, feathery plumes on top
June 25, 2009 - I am looking for the name of a red leaf shrub/small tree that has feather like, wispy plumes which grow out of the top most branches. I do not have a photo. I live in Canton, MI.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center