Sweet Gum Tree Growth Slow And Sparse After Severe Winter

Question From: L. Gates - Livonia, Missouri, United States
Q: I have a sweet gum tree that is approx. 9 years old, this spring (2014) the leaves are slow to come out and are sparse. I'm not sure if it is a northern or southern variety, we had a severe winter in northern Missouri this past winter. Today is Memorial Day and the leaves are about 50% out, they are different sizes. The top is leaved out the most. Thank You,

A: There is little you can do but to keep it well watered. All trees were slow to leaf out this year. Most Decideous trees have the ability to produce 2 sets of leaves, so in time the tree should produce a full set if it is healthy. You might fertlize it with Espoma Tree Tone or other organic fertlizer following package directions - more is not better. Also mulch with 3 inches of good organic mulch such as wood chips. Good Luck and Happy Yardening, Nancy.