Is my Loquat Tree dead?
I live in Atlanta, GA and have a loquat tree. It came with the house and is probably 10 or 15 years old, 20 feet tall, fully mature. It is an evergreen and should have a tree full of leaves. It started having problems last Spring and the number of leaves and live branches started being reduced. I believe it was the victim of a yellow-bellied sap sucker as I saw it pecking on it last winter and sap was really coming out of it. This winter I covered the trunk with tarp and no further damage was done. However, the tree has continued to lose leaves and now only has maybe 2% of the leaves it should have and these may dry up in a few weeks. When I scrape some of the bark back I do see some green in the inner bark. It appears this tree is dead or dieing. I see no new leaves beginning to pop up and no sign of life other than the green in the inner bark.
Is there any chance that this tree snaps out of it and produces new leaves and is able to survive? What are your thoughts? I purchased a new tree and I would like to put it in the ground asap. If the loquat is going to die, I want the new tree to go in its spot. Otherwise, it would go elsewhere (i.e., I don't want to wait forever to see if the Loquat bounces back).