Our two-year-old tree had leaves the year we planted it, but the following spring it came to bud and then nothing but suckers appeared from the below the surface, which we cut off. This spring it is still dead, but a sucker has started to grow. It is a variegated maple.
Can Tree Be Revived or Removed
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
This is a common thing for grafted trees that have died. With a grafted tree, which is common for unusual varieties, when the scion (the top) dies or is stressed, the rootstock (the bottom) starts to send out suckers. The suckers will not look like the plant that you planted. If the top above the soil is dead, it is best to remove it and replant with a new tree.