Is my tree dead or just delayed?

I noticed quite a few people posting about their dead trees in the spring. I had a tree that appeared to die. All my other trees leafed out and this one just sat there bare. April, May, June, and now almost July. I saw people saying to be patient, some trees will be slow. I kept scratching the bark and it continued to show green. The dormant buds showed no signs of swelling. This is how my Byrongold plum looked for ages:

Now it has suddenly come to life!

I was hoping this thread may help someone with similar lack of faith.


I wonder what made it so delayed ?

Heck if I know. It was a potted big box store purchase. I have found bare root plantings much more reliable.


I planted an Indian Free Peach in Spring of 2018. It never held its leaves and soon looked ‘Dead as a Doornail’. I waited and waited. Snipped a few branches and saw no green. Contacted the nursery and requested a replacement. They said to cut it at the trunk . . . and see if it would come back. I waited some more . . . nothing. Then - when I was just about to pull it up and put something in its place . . . I cut it off even lower. GREEN. So - it spent the winter - a stub of a thing. And it surprised me and branched out after the winter - Short but Sweet. :smile: Seems to be doing great. Photo below.
P.S. - I am envious of your weed-free planting. :+1:
This photo is not indicative of my mulching efforts - but no matter how much I mulch . . . the grasses are killing me! Full time job just keeping them at bay.


“Weed free”…only because they are newly planted. The grass is already creeping in.

Your story gives me hope for my two dapple dandy trees that fizzled. I think I’ll cut them back tomorrow instead of yanking them out. That’s why I started this thread. It was hard for me to find out how long to keep up hope on a struggling tree.

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Yes. Give it the ‘ole ax’, at some point. It’s worth a try.

I found the problem with my dapple dandy (from DWN). Every bit of it was completely dead. I cut into the rootstock and found it completely riddled with small white grubs. I have no doubt they were delivered this way. I hope these grubs don’t spread. Every white speck in this photo is a grub.


I still can’t find much info on Byrongold so I’ll update this thread now and then. The tree is still alive after the delayed start, but not exactly thriving. It has been a tough year for trees here, but it’s leaves are a little cleaner than most of my fruit trees. It’s big test will be a Michigan winter.


I hope yor tree survives. I have a Potomac pear 30" whip with worse issue. I received it in late March and potted it up temporarily. It broke dormancy and began growth. Less than 2 months in, someone either knocked it over or "rocked it back and forth ". It began to decline and leaves developed some issue with black spots on leaves. They eventually turned completely black and fell off. Tree completely defoilated for most all of summer. To my surprise, on Monday i happened to notice some new growth on 2 lateral branches and green on tip of main stem! I wonder what are the odds of the tree surviving winter with no leaves all summer?

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Two years later and the byrongold is doing well. Hoping for a first bloom this spring. It throws branches at nice angles and naturally grows out in a vase shape. I still can’t find any real reports on this tree from home growers.