Is my smoke tree dead or dormant?
It’s May 8th and my purple smoke tree still doesn’t have leaves. I think I see buds but I’m not sure. I am in Minnesota and we had an especially brutal winter with a blizzard in early April, but it is in a protected spot. I’m not sure if it’s related but last fall it never dropped it’s leaves. Aside from that it is about 4 yrs old and has always been beautiful and without problems.
I'm also in MN and we had a brutal winter!
Smoke Bush are hardy in zone 4a, though I would say we were well below normal for most of the winter. Your shrub may not have been able to sustain the temperatures.
Check the branches; to they bend or snap off and break?
Prune away the dead branches. It's possible the shrub roots could still be alive. Continue to give it time and if you see not signs of leaf out, it's time to replace.
I'm watching a few things in my own garden, but willing to give them more time!