I planted these from seedlings on August 1st. They were 3-4" tall then and now the tallest one is over 2 ft.
I cut the bottom out of a 5 gallon bucket and placed them over the seedings for wind and rabbit protection. I dust the trees with gardening lime periodically.
The trees look like they are doing very well. I see they have the dark red branches and leaves have good healthy color in your Sept. pics. Good idea with the bucket for protection. I see they made it through winter nicely and your getting leaf so that's great. You should see 4ft feet of growth this season and perhaps a bit more.
Don't give up on them yet, I have Bee Bee tree seedlings still just coming out of dormant state, although most have already. They do need regular watering over winter months to keep the roots healthy. I have them for sale in the for sale section of forum if anyone is interested in these trees.
Out of 5 the only 1 that didn't survive was the one I brought in for the winter. The dog knocked the first 4 inches off the top and it hasn't sprouted this year like the other 4. I plan on getting more of these trees to plant in my forest. The loggers came through 2 summers ago and opened up the canopy so it gets lots of sun now.
On edit: Before chucking that 5th tree I looked really closely near the base and darned if that thing isn't sprouting green buds.....ITS ALIVE....