Customers sometimes report that they think their newly-planted tree has not come out of winter dormancy. This is usually accompanied with a photo of the results of the so-called "scratch test".
Unfortunately the scratch test is notoriously unreliable. It cannot distinguish between a tree that is alive and well, and a tree that has recently died, or is on its way out.
In fact the only reliable use of the scratch test is on a tree that has been dead for 6 months or more - it will then produce the right result, namely that the tree is dead.
So please do not use the scratch test. Instead just contact us to let us know the tree might be struggling - it is always best to contact us immediately about any issue with your trees, don't wait to see if the tree gets better on its own. Most problems can be solved if detected early enough. We will then probably ask you for photos of the topmost shoots, as our experts can usually tell if the tree is about to come out of dormancy or really is dead.