We have 2 weeping willows about 6 yrs. old and 1 empress tree about 5 yrs. old. This spring when they came back, half of the willows have dead branches. The empress tree started putting on its leaves but now it looks dead. What would cause this?
Most probably the vicious winter disabled many of your trees' systems. The best thing you can do is cut back the dead parts, and hope for the best. To make sure branches are dead, try bending - they'll bend if alive, snap apart if dead. Also scrape some bark off branches with a knife or fingernail - live growth will have green tissue showing.