Does This Tree Look Dead To You?

One of the great things about spring is discovering which things you planted last fall are coming back. I planted a slew of perennials, including sedum, “hens and chicks,” iris, coneflowers, ferns, day lilies, and various bushes and hostas. The plants I chose are fairly idiot-proof; their return is pretty much automatic.

I also planted a couple of trees–both serviceberries. Now, my understanding is that serviceberries are typically hardy, resilient survivors. One of my trees is a big one and it is blooming like gangbusters. But the smaller one I put in is looking–well, a little skeletal.

I went to the nice people at the local nursery who did the actual planting to ask whether the tree needed to be replaced. They asked that I give it a stay of execution of a week or so before having it yanked out and putting in a new one. I was told that sometimes there’s a delay in new growth because of light conditions, etc., so naturally I said yes. I took this picture over the weekend. But today the tree looks no different.

Planting something is–above all else–an exercise in hope. But at some point it’s time to admit that a tree has gone on to tree heaven. Does this tree look dead to you?

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  • William von Rentzell

    Gotta see the tips of the branches and know what kind it is. Some trees are significantly later in leafing out. I'm no arborist. Maybe one will comment here. Good luck.

  • Anonymous

    I see a bud on one branch. Try snapping a branch to see if it breaks. If it bends w/o breaking, there is life in it. How is the soil around the tree? Is it hard/compacted soil? Till around it and add manure to loosen the soil.