Why isn’t my tree leafing?

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TreesCharlotte Spring Tree Gifting

It’s hard not to marvel at the explosion of green this Spring. Unless, of course, you have a tree that’s still bare.

Should you start worrying? Is it dead?

The truth is in the buds, says certified arborist Eric Schmidhausler with the Charlotte office of Bartlett Tree Experts

“If you look at the buds on the tree and they are swollen, they are more than likely going to push a new leaf out,” Schmidhausler says. “That’s one of the first things we look for to tell tree health.”

Buds can start swelling by January or February, so if you don’t see them at this point – in the middle of spring –  you may indeed have a tree health problem on your hands. If the tree fails to leaf out, it’s likely a goner.

“A tree cannot survive not leafing out for an entire year,” he said.

(The one exception: Redbuds, which are unique because they bloom directly on the wood. In that case, waiting is your best bet. )

If you do see buds and no leaves, Schmidhausler predicts you’ll see them pop in the next 10 days due to the recent spate of warm weather. And if your flowering tree skips the flowering part but still produces leaves, it’s likely healthy but there may be underlying health issues that an arborist should inspect.




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