The summer linden and winter linden have a lot in common, which is why both are often simply referred to as linden, linden tree. The decision for one of the two varieties should still be made dependent on the suitability for your own garden, because as similar as they look – they have their own requirements in terms of location and care.

The differences between the linden species

From a purely visual point of view, it can be quite difficult to clearly distinguish summer linden and winter linden from each other. But it is not impossible even for laypeople.

The most important feature is found in the leaves. The foliage of the summer linden tree is larger than that of the winter linden tree. Therefore, the roof of the winter linden tree appears lighter and lets more sun through. Due to the numerous cultivated forms, however, this point is also not unambiguous for the differentiation.

The hair on the leaves can be better used here. The foliage of the summer linden is hairy all around. In the winter linden tree, the fine hairs are only found on the underside of the leaf, the rest is bare. This also appears lighter on the winter linden than the upper side. This means that there are three factors in the sheet that can serve to distinguish between them.

However, the differences between summer linden and winter linden are not only due to their appearance. The demands on location and care are not nearly as similar as might be assumed.

Choose the right location

Both summer and winter linden trees can take on immense proportions, which should definitely be considered when choosing a location.

Summer linden trees are around 40 meters high, while winter linden trees are still 30 meters high. Although they only reach such dimensions after 100 years, it must be taken into account that the summer linden tree will take up a little more space. With regard to the lighting conditions, there is again a difference. Although both species can tolerate light shade during their youth – as long as the soil offers optimal conditions – the summer linden tree needs a lot of sun and warmth in the long term. Therefore, it should be protected from cold winds above all.

The winter linden tree is a little less picky here and gets along well with full sun, shade and lower temperatures throughout its life.


When it comes to the substrate, the winter lime tree proves to be easy to care for. The soil can be poor in nutrients and acidic or have a high lime content. For the summer linden tree it has to be a bit more nutritious.

A substrate that is deep, loose, nutrient-rich and well-drained is ideal for both types of linden. A high mineral content is also required. In preparation, the soil from the garden can first be dug up and then provided with lime, mineral fertilizer and peat. If the substrate tends to compact, it helps to mix it with a small amount of sand. Caution is advised here, however, if the soil is too permeable, it will tend to become dry. And neither of the two types of linden tree is good at this.


If the right location has been found that offers enough space all around for unhindered growth, and the substrate has been dug up deeply and as far as possible, then planting the linden tree is not a problem.

The planting hole should be three to four times the size of the root ball and lined with the loose substrate mixture. After the linden tree has been put in place, the remaining space must also be filled with earth. The top layer should be pounded into place.

After planting, the linden tree needs plenty of water. This also applies to the first few weeks afterwards. However, waterlogging should not arise, as should persistent drought.

The ideal time is autumn before the first frost.


The care of the summer and winter linden is quite simple and is not a problem even for newbies in the garden.


Once the linden tree has grown, the watering can be slowly reduced.
Adult winter and summer linden trees are usually self-sufficient and get along well with normal amounts of rain. However, the roots should never dry out, which is why they should be watered abundantly during prolonged periods of drought. It can be poured as soon as the top layer has dried.

Normal tap water, which can have a high degree of hardness, is ideal for this. Linden trees get along well with large amounts of lime.

In fact, this form of watering is also a slight fertilization.


From the spring of the first year of standing, the growth of the linden tree can be given a boost with regular and generous fertilization.

Both mineral and organic fertilizers such as compost and manure are suitable for this.
However, caution is advised with the former, as they can lead to salinisation of the soil if they are used too often or in too large quantities. If you want to be absolutely sure, test the soil content before fertilizing with minerals.

It is optimal to administer the remedy every four weeks and to switch between different fertilizers. This reduces the risk of oversupply.
After each dose, the linden should be watered abundantly so that the nutrients are distributed evenly and the roots do not suffer chemical burns.

Tip: With the winter linden tree, the fertilizer can be used a little more sparingly, as it has an overall lower requirement.

To cut

Cuttings can also be part of the maintenance of the winter and summer linden trees. However, this is not necessary for an expansive and decorative canopy of leaves. The summer linden tree in particular forms a dense crown without intervention.

But if you decide on a specific shape, you can bravely reach for scissors. Because healthy linden trees can usually cope with even a radical pruning.
Side shoots, main branches and even the trunk can be shortened. For this reason, summer and winter linden are ideal for topiary cuts, even if they are fancy.

When cutting back, however, a few points should be observed.

  • The ideal time for a cut is autumn, before the first frost
  • Radical cuts are possible, but lead to heavy leaf formation at the expense of the flower
  • Regular gentle blends are better than infrequent strong interventions
  • Cuttings outside of frost periods are possible all year round, but optimal in autumn

If the cut has been forgotten and should be made up later, this is possible with both species of linden tree. Because even the removal of old branches leads to new shoots. However, it must be remembered that cuts in spring lead to so-called panic drives. The tree will quickly develop numerous and long shoots, which are usually thin and weak. In the long term, it is more beneficial for the appearance and health of the summer and winter linden to maintain a certain regularity. As a result, the cut does not become a major project, but only requires a few targeted cuts.


Summer linden trees begin to unfold in bloom around June. It is the turn of the winter linden trees about two weeks later. Before it comes to this fragrant eye-catcher, however, a few years can pass on the site. This is unlikely to happen before the sixth year and even then there are still exceptions. This also applies when the conditions are optimal and the care has been perfectly coordinated.

Protection in winter

Even if the names suggest it, the summer linden tree is hardly less frost-hardy than the winter linden tree. It just doesn’t tolerate cold winds that easily. However, if a protected location was chosen, it does not need any special winter protection either. This even applies if the linden tree was only replanted in autumn.

In preparation for the cold months, fertilization should be carried out for the last time in early autumn. Subsequent nutrients only prevent the tree from entering the required resting phase.


If you have a lot of space in the garden and want to grow a particularly beautiful linden tree, you basically just need a little patience.

Propagation is possible through seeds and so-called root spawn. If seeds are used, however, the success rate can be viewed realistically. On the one hand, it takes a long time before blossoms and thus fruits can even come about. On the other hand, not every fruit contains a required seed. If one is found, it can be grown in a bright place in the house or directly in the garden. A special substrate does not have to be used for this, and special knowledge does not have to be available. All that is required is regular watering.

Propagation by young shoots is a little faster and easier. Roots lying on the surface already develop young plants within the first years of standing, which are simply dug up and relocated for faster reproduction. The larger the young linden tree is when it is removed, the larger the root ball should be. Apart from this factor, however, nothing needs to be considered.

Typical pests and diseases

Summer linden and winter linden are extremely robust and resistant to diseases and pests.
Basically, there are only three things that can harm these trees.

  • Aphids
  • mushrooms
  • salt

If an aphid infestation is found, the most effective measure is the use of beneficial insects. Ladybugs have proven themselves here and can be purchased cheaply in stores.
However, such an infestation rarely occurs if the garden is designed to be friendly to beneficial insects. Those who do not use chemical agents and also set up insect hotels can specifically prevent such problems.

If a fungal disease occurs, which is noticeable through early discoloration and falling leaves, the cause is usually to be found in a mistake in care. The reason may be contaminated cutting tools that carry spores on fresh wounds. Or a culture that is too wet. Once such an infestation has arisen, it should be treated in two steps. To do this, diseased parts of the plant are first removed generously. The second measure is the use of a suitable fungicide.

The soil becomes salinized if the earth is contaminated in winter by spray water containing road salt or if too much mineral fertilizer is used. This also manifests itself in a premature brown discoloration and premature loss of leaves. However, only an examination of the soil can reveal the cause. Depending on the result, the salinization can be counteracted with floating water and organic agents. The water washes the salt into deeper layers, the organic fertilizer creates a new equilibrium.

Is the linden tree poisonous?

Both summer linden and winter linden are extremely attractive to bees and bumblebees during flowering. Because the flowers not only smell sweet, they are also a source of sweet nectar.

Despite this apparent advantage, it is not uncommon for numerous dead insects to be found under the tree. The assumption that the linden tree is poisonous is therefore obvious. In fact, that is not the case. The amount of nectar is simply not enough for food and so many of the bumblebees and bees starve to death.

The two linden species pose no danger to humans or other animals either. It is not for nothing that the flowers are used as tea. The trees can therefore easily stand in gardens that are often used by children and pets.

Whether winter linden or summer linden – the splendor of flowers and an imposing canopy make the trees an impressive eye-catcher in the garden. Due to their low demands, both varieties are ideal for laypeople in gardening. But not for every garden due to their size. So the planting should be carefully considered.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *