The roots are sending out new leaves which is not a good sign for the existing stems. It indicates a hormone imbalance of cytokinin over auxin. Auxin is greatest at the tips of woody-stemmed plants and travels from top to bottom. Its relationship with healthy buds prevents dormant buds from activating in the stem as well as the roots.
Cyokinin originates in the roots and is the hormone responsible for telling the undifferentiated cells in buds to start dividing. I’m not sure what mechanism is responsible for differentiating what those cells become. The process occurs when cyokinin from the roots is not kept in check by auxin: when plants are young or when the auxin flow is broken in the instance of a damaged stem.
Basically, new growth from the roots indicates that the stems are not producing auxin which in turn shows that they are dead (or at least extremely stressed) 😦
Non-herbaceous plants fascinate me in that regard. Hormones act like logical conditions in artificial intelligence programming!
Well, except for the artificial part.