Magnolia Tree Has No Blooms Or Leaves

Question From: A. Dolivo - Vermont, United States
Q: We bought a magnolia tree that was hardy for northern climates - we live in Vermont - about three years ago. The first couple of years, it bloomed, had many leaves (although some turned yellow and dropped off) and grew well. This spring (it is an early bloomer), no blooms or leaves appeared at all. There were severe frosts in the area, but I am concerned that no leaves grew and there is no new growth. I mistakenly planted daffodil bulbs on one side of the tree and didn't keep up a pile of mulch in the second and third years, so grass is starting to establish. There are new shoots growing well around the base. Is there any hope for the tree and do you have any tips? Thanks!

A: I'm wondering if the tree was grown in your state or shipped in from warmer climes. Hopefully you know the variety. I sugggest you have it looked at by a certified arborist. Trees suffered from heat and drought last year and may now have other issues. Do be sure to keep it well watered. Covering the grass with newspaper - 4 sheets thick and spreading 3 inches of wood chips around the tree will take care of the grass. By next spring the newspaper will have broken down enough that the daffs will be able to grow through the mulch. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.