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Sweetbay Mag budding -2nd set/or warmth?

Message from Mike coastal CT

While I have my photobucket open I thought I would quickly post this pic before I go:

My Sweetbay mag has me confused: Last year (and the 3 previous winters) my Sweetbay Mag (var Australis) would lose about 20 to 40% of it's leaves by late winter, then refolate by late April. Last year it really suffered in Feb, it lost just about every single leaf...and...refoliated late, around mid May. It looked great all the rest of spring, summer, and fall. Then around late November all the leaves seem to fall off like it was a deciduous tree (I know some do lose their leaves in late fall).

Now, the tree is covered with swelling buds - LOL. Ron in DE (I think) mentioned something about a 2nd set coming out on more mature trees in winter. My tree is a small one (about 6 feet tall) and has only been in the ground about 5 years. Is it now starting to produce the 2nd set in winter, or is it just the warm weather that has the tree budding? There are only two Sweetbays close by, they both have most of their leaves, but they are much older and taller (15 to 20 feet).

A close up with my not so good camera:

What do you think?

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