How to tell a fruit tree is dead?
I have some apple trees that were affected by summer heat last year and I'm trying to figure out if they are dead or still hanging on...capable of sending out at least a stem that can later be grafted onto. Two of the trees are young, planted last year as bare root. The other is an 8 ft Fuji, transplanted 3 years ago from a milder summer area, did real well until last year, now looks bad with vertical(shrivel?) lines on some trunks and stems, some bark cracking, peeling.
I've been cutting back branches looking for green and not finding it. My main question is: can a fruit tree be alive even if it's not showing any green interior when the branches, and trunks, are cut back.
Any other ways to tell, other than waiting well into spring to see if any buds or new growth appear.
ps...I also have a Tarrocco Blood orange that has mostly black branches, but two that are still partly green, and a watersprout green branch growing from below the graft. I'm thinking with any of these trees that if the roots are still good and alive, it would be better to graft onto any future growth than to dig up the tree and start over with a new and real young one. Does this make sense?