Linden(Tilia): Leaf scorch (marginal leaf necrosis)

categories: Linden (Tilia) Linden (Tilia) Diseases Ornamental trees Ornamentals

revision date: 2022-11-23 02:45

Brown leaf scorch on edges of leaves.
Leaf scorch on linden (air pollution)
Photo by: P. Kapitola,


Browning and dieback of leaf margins and tips can be a symptom of several problems that restrict water flow to the leaves. Drought, excess heat, excess sunlight, overfertilization, and herbicide injury are all possible causes. Damage to the root system or trunk may also show as wilting and leaf necrosis due to the inhibition of water uptake and movement. Salt damage may occur on plants growing near sidewalks due to winter use of de-icing products. Some lindens including Tilia americana (American linden or American basswood) are reported to be intolerant of air pollution and may develop marginal leaf necrosis or other leaf damage if exposed to high levels of pollution.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Do not apply herbicides near susceptible trees or when drift is likely to occur. Use special care when applying broadleaf weed killers to turf near ornamental plantings.
  • Use a layer of organic mulch over the root zone to retain soil moisture and to moderate soil temperatures.
  • Examine trunks for damage from string trimmers, cankers, or other injury.
  • Provide proper watering and nutrition. Lindens prefer deep, rich, well-drained soils and plenty of water, but extremely wet or waterlogged soils may damage the roots’ ability to take up water. Excess fertilizer, particularly during hot weather, can result in leaf damage.
  • Do not plant lindens in areas with high air pollution. Littleleaf linden (Tilia cordata) is reported to be more tolerant of air pollution than other species.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • None recommended

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