We lost a beautiful, and formerly healthy, horn beam tree this spring. It did not shed its leaves last winter which it did normally. We still have not removed it as of mid-July; is there any chance it will come back? If not, what are the possible causes of its death?
This year we are seeing a lot of winter injury all around Michigan as a result of several events last winter. The warmer than usual fall, where trees were slow to lose their leaves, was followed by a cold snap (0 to -15) in early December. This sudden freeze killed a lot of young and/or (drought) stressed trees. Winter injury in Michigan is a common occurrence. Most winter injury is caused by cold snaps early or late in the dormant season or mid-winter thaws followed quickly by cold temperatures. When plants become cold acclimated in the fall, the cold hardiness begins at the shoot tips and progresses down the tree to the trunk and finally to the ground. Injury to the base of a tree often indicates that the injury took place early in the season, as the plant was hardening off for winter. Based on your description, the tree should be removed. If your tree survived, it would certainly have shown some sign of new growth by July.