The Q&A Archives: Is my tree dead or dying?

Question: I planited 2 Autumn Blaze Maple trees last year. One is doing very well and has lots of new growth. The second tree isn't looking so well. It has a sucker growing and only the bottom 3 branches have leaves, the rest of the tree has buds but they have yet to flower. Should I just wait until next year and see if my tree will then grow new leaves or is this a sign that my tree is dead and I should dig it up and replace it now?
Thank you, Angela Lopez

Answer: It sounds to me as though the tree is expending its energy in sucker growth instead of top growth. I would cut off the suckers to redirect the energy and then give it a few months to recover from whatever is causing this strange behavior. If it budded out and then stalled and then began producing suckers, it could be that the top of the tree was damaged this past winter, or from a late frost this past spring. I think it will take some time to recover and then you should see normal leafing.

Best wishes with your autumn blaze!

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