Last year I had to cut down a red maple tree. I was able to save three of its offspring.
One is ~2' tall and I moved it from where it volunteered behind a bush to the middle of the yard.
Another is ~8" tall and spent most of last year in a pot. Buried the pot in the ground in early fall.
The last one is a pure untouched volunteer, ~6" tall growing right up against the stump of the old tree.
How can I tell if these saplings survived the winter?
I see very small buds on all of them. Should these buds be hard or soft?
What other signs indicate a healthy, young red maple sapling?