Drooping Yew

reinholdtMarch 11, 2009

Hello,

Apparently, I posted a message about my yews in the Shrubs section by mistake. It should have been in this section.

I planted some Japanese Yews ("Densiformis," I believe) about four years ago on the north side of my house. Since that time, they've grown very little and have displayed a drooping appearance--where there branch tips almost touch the ground. I tried fertilizing and maintaining proper moisture, but still, they look sad.

Can anyone offer some advice? Below is a link for a photo of one of the yews.

http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewImage&friendID=85104559&albumID=2753455&imageID=45183349

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wisconsitom

Reinholdt,I couldn't get the link-up, but in thinking about poorly performing yews I've seen, how is drainage where yours are? Taxus is notorious for needing good drainage. Another possibility to look in to is the presence of black vine weevil. Adults of this insect do some foliar damage, which appears as notches taken out of the needles, but it is the larval stage, feeding on roots, that do more damage. Just a couple of thoughts........+oM

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 9:31PM
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barbaraincalif(Z 8/9)

Hmmm...they look similar to healthy Taxus baccata 'Repandens' in form.

Hope you don't mind that I posted your picture since Tom had problems accessing it....

Reinholdt's Droopy Yew

Barbara

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 11:26PM
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reinholdt

Barbara, thanks for posting it. Could this be a lack of sun? They're on the north side of my house. On the other hand, I see neighbors with various conifers on the north side, and they all look fine.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 5:54PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Is it a named variety? As Barb has suggested, it may be growing as it was intended to grow. They are also very close to your foundation and lye can leach from cement/concrete material, although the color on these seems ok.

tj

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 6:41PM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Barbara is right, this is the Taxus baccata 'Repandens'.
This cultivar orginated as a cutting from a sidebranch of Taxus baccata 'Dovastoniana' which is also a bit droopy.
Real droopy one's are:
Taxus baccata 'Pendula'

and Taxus baccata 'Graciosa'

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 2:37AM
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pineresin

It won't be Taxus baccata 'Repandens', not in zone 5! That would be dead after one winter, maybe two if the first was exceptionally mild or had deep snow cover to protect it. Most likely a cultivar of similar appearance of Taxus cuspidata or T. Ã media.

Resin

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 5:36AM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Taxus cuspidata and Taxus x media don't have creeping form cultivars.
Taxus baccata can survive a zone 5, every year a lot of Taxus baccata cultivars from my nursery are going to Sweden and they survive also with winter temperatures till -30 degrees.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 6:38AM
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mrgpag

I know of a local taxus planting here in Dayton OH that is very similar in appearance as the one shown above, but much larger - and has been here at least 20 years. However, it's labeled Taxus baccata 'Rependans' - a typo on someones part it appears. The recent USDA rezoning placed Dayton in zone 6 - barely. Dawes Arboretum located about 30 miles east of Columbus OH has numerous t. baccata in their collections and I believe that area is considered zone 5.

Marshall

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 7:39AM
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pineresin

I've seen Taxus baccata (several) killed in a severe winter in zone 7.

Resin

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 9:32AM
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reinholdt

If I remember correctly, it is Taxus Densiformis. I bought it because it was supposed to have spreading branches (3-4' wide), which wuold nicely fill that space in front of my house. As I mentioned, since planting it several years ago, it's hardly grown at all and always looks lackluster. The soil seems normal (there were old overgrown yews there previously) and I'm diligent in ensuring it gets the right amount of water. So, I'm perplexed as to why it appears the way it does.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 10:42AM
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pineresin

"(there were old overgrown yews there previously)"

That could be part of your problem - new specimens of a single species rarely grow well in soil that has previously held the same species. Due to build-up of various minor pests and diseases that won't hurt the old mature specimens, but make things difficult for a new, young vulnerable specimen when they all jump in on it.

Resin

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 5:15PM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

For sure is that these plants showed at Rheinhold's picture are not Taxus x media 'Densiformis', I keep with my opinion that is Taxus baccata 'Repandens'
His plants are looking good and healthy, and do have the typical 'Repandens' growth.
The colour of Taxus x media 'Densiformis is a lighter green and 'Nidiformis' means a nestforming growht which isn't flat growing.

Taxus baccata 'Repandens'

Taxus x media 'Densiformis'

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 4:08AM
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reinholdt

Going by my memory when I bought them, I'm 99.9% sure they are Densiformis yews, as I remember seeing that name on the tags. Plus, before buying them, I reserached various yews to find the type that was best to fill that area of my house, and Densiformis fit the bill

Now, the only question remains: why are they so lethargic?
Can lack of sun produce this result?

I guess I'll try various things this summer, such as (one person recommended) digging down a bit and adding some peat moss and compost around the drip line. Also, I'll trim the tips a bit to take some of the weight off to see if that helps. Other than that, the only recourse is to remove them and put something better (taller, fuller) there--since that is a high-profile area of my house.

Thanks for everyone's input. I'm still open to more thoughts in the meantime.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 9:53AM
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barbaraincalif(Z 8/9)

Hi reinholdt...let me translate the replies to yewr posting for yew (ok, enough of that). I suggested it might be T. baccata 'Repandens' not 'Densiformis' as they are labeled , coniferjoy agreed.

Resin said impossible because baccata will not survive your cold winters it must be a baccata hybrid called x media. Then others popped in with having seen baccata survive in your growing zone. Resin then gave us a good reminder to never re-plant the same thing in the same place (crop rotation!).

Coniferjoy provided pictures of both Taxus baccata 'Repandens' and Taxus x media 'Densiformis' for you to compare growth form and to tell you your plants are mis-labeled, being beautifully growing Taxus baccata 'Repandens'.

If they are not meeting your landscape requirements, you'll need to (gasp) replace them, but best not with Taxus as Resin explained above.

Hope this helped!

Barbara

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 10:25AM
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kleckas

> I'm 99.9% sure they are Densiformis yews, as I remember seeing that name on the tags.

Wrong logical conlusion: "it was labeled as Densiformis" not necessarily means "it is Densiformis". Unfortunately various mistakes happen time after time, especially related to labels...

>Resin said impossible because baccata will not survive your cold winters...

Don't pay attention - Resin due to some reason is angry concerning Taxus baccata and their cold hardiness...

>I guess I'll try various things this summer, such as (one person recommended) digging down a bit and adding some peat moss and compost around the drip line...

Also add some fertilizer, also move to sunny location. After the whole job is done, the result will be seen immediately: You'll get rid of these unlucky Taxus baccata !!!

DON'T DO THAT !!! Especially - "...adding some peat moss...". You wrote - "I planted some Japanese Yews ... on the NORTH side of my house." The location is correct (the plant will not suffer from winter burn). The northern side also implies increased humidity (also beneficial for Taxus), but along with humidity we face the risk of too acidic soil. Taxus baccata will never show vigorous grow in acidic soil - and this is the main reason of frequent failures.

By "adding some peat moss" the soil will become more acidic - but your goal sould be just opposite.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 5:24PM
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pineresin

"Resin due to some reason is angry concerning Taxus baccata and their cold hardiness"

Not angry, just realistic, based on observations!

Resin

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 5:30PM
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tunilla

IF your soil is too acid,use dolomitic limestone chips (calcium-magnesium carbonate)to neutralise it. T.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 6:20PM
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flowerqueen_15(z8)

Hi Reinholdt,

I just found your discussion about your drooping yews while searching for an answer to my own question. Having just purchased five big beautiful specimens of Taxus Densiformis, I must say that yours look nothing at all like the ones I have on my front walk. I've researched this plant a bit and have the impression that these are sun loving plants that tolerate a bit of shade. Yours are getting little to no direct sun, so could they be suffering from the botanical version of SAD?? My question is this - just how sun tolerant are these plants? Can they take full sun without burning in my cool climate of the Pacific Northwest? Anyone with an opinion on that I'd love to hear from. I just can't seem to find that specific information in my research.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 12:36PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you said: Going by my memory when I bought them, I'm 99.9% sure they are Densiformis yews

that presumes the moron who had to put 10,000 labels on the plants.. put the right label on it ... as noted above ...

let me sum up this scholarly debate for you ... in realistic terms ...

very simple ...

if it does not please you .. get rid of it ...

it is what it is.. whatever it is

and you are not going to change the shape ... vigor .... or growth habits through any type of amendments or fertilizer ...

and resin shouldnt be arguing IN ENGLISH with a Lithuanian ... i doubt he meant argue in a negative way.. versus.. 'debate' .. which is an argument ...

if only we all used english.. as goodly as i type... lol

in summation, your honor ....

move it or git rid of it.. if it doesnt please you ...

and if you are getting the conifer collecting bug... you have to find better suppliers who actually know what they grow.. rather than relying on a bigboxstore label ...

good luck

ken

ps: i think its really cool.. as is .. if you care to drive or send it to adrian mi ... i would be glad to adopt it ...

PPS: coniferjoy.. in the pic labeled: Taxus x media 'Densiformis' .. what the heck did you do to those trees in the background???!!!! .. what are they .. and why .... more sun for the conifers????? can we have a better pic of just those.. even though they arent conifers...

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 1:02PM
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reinholdt

I tested the soil where my shrubs are planted. It registered 7.0 (Neutral). The soil test kit said that the ideal range for Yews is 4.6- 6.0, which is more on the acidic side. So, I may try acidifying the soil this year to see if that helps. If not, I'll probably move the shrubs to a sunnier location next year. One other thing, I noticed that one of the three shrubs (the one that gets the most sun) seems to be doing better than the others and is not as droopy. Plus, it has more buds than the other two. So, in my opinion this is either a soil issue or not enough sun. Time will tell. Flowerqueen, can you post some photos of your Densimormis or send me some pics? I'd like to see how they look. Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 8:16PM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Ken,

We meet again in a funny way :0)

Those trees in the background are Salix which will be cut back to the stem every 4 years.
We called these "Knotwilgen" in the Dutch language, translated to English it's "pollard-willow"
These trees, about a 100, are standing beside both sides of the road and they are municipality property and are real living monuments.
In the past farmers made their pottingsoil from the center of dead pollard-willows.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 1:55PM
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