I purchased two redbud trees late last summer and planted and watered them regularly. As of today, they only have little shoots coming out of the bottom two feet or so. I am wondering if they will have any new growth up on top where we should have leaves by this time. There are no buds or any sign of life there.

It is very unlikely that the redbuds will resprout in the upper crown. The decline could be due to winter injury/low temperature injury. Newly planted trees are more prone to low temperature injury. Redbud is also sensitive to stem cankers, a disease that the girdle and kill trees. The sprouts from the lower trunk may be trained into a desirable tree but you may consider replanting with a hardier species such as crabapple or hawthorne.

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