I planted a red maple in my backyard 10 years ago and it has never had a problem - it was started as a whip by a local Arbor Day group. I also have 2 Sunset Maples in my front yard. I am concerned because the Sunsets have flowered and now are covered with seeds, but the red maple in the backyard is bare - branches appear to have several inches of bright red growth and buds on the tips. I thought that all maples flowered, produced seed, and leafed out at approximately the same time. I don't recall this tree being later than the others in past years. Could this just be the difference between Sunset cultivars and a basic red maple or could my tree have suddenly died?
Red Maple Not Leafing Out in Virginia
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Given that your red maple has signs of growth and buds, it is alive and well. It is just on a different time table than the other trees, which is completely normal. The leaf-out strategies of trees varies widely, both among and within species. The same tree can even leaf out/bud at different times each year. Some trees delay their leafing out during cold springs.
More information on this can be found in the following article (PDF):