Holes in Linden Tree Leaves: Reasons and Solutions

Looking out your window and noticing that your linden tree is losing its leaves can be quite concerning. It’s not unusual for trees to lose their leaves in the fall, but if you’re seeing holes in the leaves, there may be a problem. In this blog post, we will explore the causes of leaf holes in linden trees and provide some solutions.

Why Are There Holes in Linden Tree Leaves?

Linden borers are the most likely reason for holes in linden tree leaves. The larvae of this pest bore into the trunk and branches of the tree, causing extensive damage. In severe cases, the tree may be completely girdled and die.

The presence of a linden borer will also mean damage to the trunk and branches of the tree. The larvae bore into the wood, causing it to weaken and eventually die. So inspect your whole tree to see if there is any damage, not just to the leaves.

If you suspect that you have a linden borer infestation, it’s important to act quickly. These pests can cause serious damage to your tree and should be treated as soon as possible.

Alongside the linden borer, there are a few other pests that can cause holes in linden tree leaves, such as the Japanese beetle, aphids, or caterpillars. These pests are not as destructive as the linden borer and can be controlled with some basic pest control measures.

How to Treat Linden Leaves with Holes?

If you have a linden borer infestation, you’ll need to treat the whole tree, not just the leaves. Currently, the only way to get rid of linden borer pests is with permethrin and bifenthrin (Onyx) that are applied to the bark before the adults arrive in May. 

Other pests can be removed with more simple pest control measures, such as hand-picking the pests off of the leaves or spraying the tree with a pesticide. Be sure to follow all instructions on the pesticide label and only use products that are labeled for use on linden trees.

I’ve had good success with Neem oil, which is a natural, non-toxic pesticide. It works by disrupting the life cycle of the pest, preventing them from reproducing and feeding. Neem oil is also effective against fungal diseases like powdery mildew and black spot.

Simply mix a solution of neem oil and water according to the directions on the bottle and spray it on your linden tree leaves. You’ll need to reapply it every few weeks to keep the pests at bay.

holes linden leaves
A destroyed linden leaf

How to Keep Pests Away From Linden Tree Leaves?

Prevention is the number one way to keep pests away from your linden tree leaves (or any plant, for that matter). Inspect your tree regularly for signs of pests or damage and take action immediately if you see anything out of the ordinary.

Weak trees are most vulnerable to pests and diseases, so be sure to keep your linden tree healthy by watering it regularly and fertilizing it yearly. Pruning the tree will also help to promote good airflow and prevent pests from taking hold.

You can also use predators to control pests. For example, woodpeckers love to eat linden borers and can help to keep their population in check. Ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps are all great predators that will help to keep aphids and caterpillars under control.

That’s why I encourage birds into my garden with a bird feeder and a birdbath. I also plant native plants that attract these predators, such as dandelions, yarrow, and cosmos.

What Else Causes Holes in Linden Tree Leaves?

There are a few other reasons that linden tree leaves may have holes, such as:

Fungal Disease

Just like with any plant, linden trees can get fungal diseases. The most common is powdery mildew, which appears as a white powder on the leaves. Black spot is another fungal disease that causes black spots on the leaves.

The fungus gradually eats away at the leaves, causing them to turn yellow and eventually drop off. If you see any signs of a fungal disease, be sure to treat it immediately with a fungicide. Again, neem oil works wonders.


Sometimes, animals will eat linden tree leaves, causing holes. The most common culprits are deer, rabbits, and groundhogs. To keep these animals away, you can put up a fence around your tree.

You can also try using repellents, such as commercial products that contain ingredients like capsaicin or garlic. Just be sure to follow the directions on the label and reapply them regularly, as they will wear off over time.


Harsh weather conditions, such as wind, rain, and hail, can cause linden tree leaves to develop holes. These holes are usually small and evenly distributed across the leaf.

There’s not much you can do to prevent damage from weather, but you can help your linden tree recover by pruning away any damaged branches and leaves.

Should I Prune Linden Tree Leaves with Holes?

The only time I would recommend pruning linden tree leaves is if they are severely damaged or diseased. Otherwise, it’s best to leave them alone.

Pruning away damaged leaves will help the tree to focus its energy on new growth and promote good airflow, which can help to prevent fungal diseases from taking hold. Plus, it stops the fungus from spreading to other parts of the tree.

If you do decide to prune your linden tree leaves, be sure to sterilize your pruning tools before and after use. This will help to prevent the spread of disease.


In conclusion, the linden borer is the most common reason for holes in linden tree leaves. However, there are a few other possible causes, such as fungal disease, animals, and weather damage.

The best way to prevent holes in linden tree leaves is to keep the tree healthy and inspect it regularly for signs of pests or disease. If you do find holes in the leaves, be sure to take action immediately to prevent further damage.

Do you have a linden tree? Have you ever noticed holes in the leaves? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

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