Sweet Gum Tree Growth Is Sparse Compared To Other Years

Question From: L. Hager - Dayton, Ohio, United States
Q: I have a large and very old Sweet Gum tree in my back yard, planted when the subdivision was put together in the 50's---I've been here for 5 years and the tree leaves come in thick and full every year---but not this year. There are many sparse branches and lots of open space on the tree this year. So I'm wondering if there is some problem with it. The leaves are so incredibly colored at the Fall that I'd hate to lose the tree, even though I'd like to lose the seed pods, they hurt my dogs paws. Any ideas what might be wrong?

A: While I am not a trained tree doctor, your Sweet Gum may have suffered winter damage. I suggest you have an on-site inspection from a certified arborist to give you advice on how to treat it, if it can be salvaged. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.