Black Gum planting shock
I have a Black Gum tree that was planted last fall. It had leaf buds throughout the winter. In the spring, the leaves only came out in the center of the tree. Each brach had at least a foot that did not leaf out. The tree has grown quite a bit over the spring and summer, but the leafing problem is about the same proportion. It was watered weekly after planted until hard frost. In the spring and summer, there was a lot of rain. I did water it after leafing, hoping it would help. Should I cut the none-leafing bits off, or should I wait until next spring to see if the problem is corrected?
You can scrape the branches with your fingernail and look for green tissue. If you see it, the branch is still viable. Otherwise, you can prune dead plant material. Alternatively, you can wait and see next spring.