Q.Is my Golden Willow Dead?
The tree has four main trunks. It is the result of a early hard freeze one fall. I cut the dead trunk, but “suckers” formed four new trunks. Those trunks are now up to about 5-6 inches in diameter. This spring one of them has brown “caterpillar” shaped buds all over the branches, but no leaves or green buds. The branches seem to be alive because they are still yellow and they are green below the bark. The other trunks have fairly sparse leaves. Should I cut the leafless trunk down, hope it comes back, or cut the tree down?
It does sound as if the tree has a few growth issues.
Pruning could help shape the tree to a more desirable growing pattern.
You could consult a local arborist who may help you determine if pruning will give you the results your hoping for.
I did list several links for you to help you get started.