Yew shrubs dying???

lawnkid(Central NJ)December 26, 2006

I apologize if I am posting this on the wrong forum.

I planted spreading yew shrubs (densiformis) in front of my porch. When I got them from the nursery they looked a little stressed but to me they were still OK to be purchased and transplanted. They were burlapped. I want to turn these into a hedge as they grow. I planted at the end of September 2006. When I planted I prepared the soil well by adding compost and general purpose fertilizer. IÂve water them religiously.

I am looking at them now (Dec 2006) and noticed the leaves to be yellow. They are suppose to be dark green. I am not sure if they are so stressed that theyÂll survive the winter and come out with new healthy grow in the spring.

I want to know what can I do to get them back to vigorous grow. (If there is anything I could do)

Do they take time to bounce back?

Should a shear the old grow to promote new grow? If so, when can I do this, now or at the beginning of Spring?

I followed fertilizer recommendation and believe I added an appropriate amount, but I also heard that if the plants are stressed this might aggravate them more.

Below are some pics:

I will greatly appreciate suggestions. It will hurt if I do not see new green grow in spring 2007. This will require pulling them out and purchasing new ones.

Thanks in advance for your time.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Depends on why they are yellow.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 11:34PM
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They will yellow a bit going dormant, but if they're yellow all over, either they've been overwatered like mad (hard to do to yews unless your drainage is really bad), or they're too dry (it can happen), or .. can you return them for a refund? Never, ever buy anything that looks 'a little stressed'.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 5:26AM
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Hi, just realized something - you said you fertilized well, but conifers going dormant don't like much nitrogen at all, and a lot of people use a very low nitrogen fert. starting in Sept. for them. If you've used a balanced formula or high nitrogen one since then, it's possible that's your problem. Unfortunately there's nothing (including lots of watering) you can do now to change it, and you may just have to wait til spring to see if they come back.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 5:29AM
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lawnkid(Central NJ)

Thanks for the quick responses

As one can see on the photo they are planted on a rise bed.
Before I planted anything around the porch I raised the grade with prepared soil. I also planted azaleas and rhodos, and I understand they like good drainage and acidic soil.

I also wonder if shearing some branches will promote grow (assuming they will grow).
Should I do this now, or wait until the spring?


    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 9:36AM
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No don't 'shear' or prune them now, it won't help at all. I wonder about your 'bed' though - if it's too rich and peaty, or mostly clay, rather than gritty and fast draining. Trees need different conditions to flowers or veggies and if it's rained a lot this year and the soil doesn't drain quickly, the roots could be staying wet much too long between waterings.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 10:18AM
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Trim them back anytime to green foliage and come next spring, feed them again with a nitrogen fertilizer or combination liquid root stimulator and fertilizer all in one.

The yellow will never return so remove it.

I'll say this once more as I've said it several times in the past - balled and burlapped plant material seems to be the most difficult of all to acclimate to any garden.

To make sure your soil drains properly, dig a two foot hole in your prepared bed then fill with water and come back in 30 minutes. If the water has drained, you're ok.

These factors will help you determine the ultimate fate of your shrub. If your soil drains well, and the plant dies next year or this winter - then you can deduce that the root system was falty.

Also, all that external yellowing may be a simple example of fertilizer forcing late growth and being killed off. I'd have to look at the photos again to see if there is any evidence.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 10:36AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Amended bed with lots of organics dug in likely to have an N deficiency. Or maybe a pH problem and resulting nutrient tie-up, again from liberal use of amendments. Yellowing (and root rot) from impeded drainage also possible, quite likely with yews in particular as they are pretty touchy about dampness at the root.

Fertilizer needs to go on when a serious deficiency is discovered, starving plants do not benefit from waiting for relief. Other than that, fall is the best time to fertilize hardy plants. Spring is less suitable but better than summer or winter.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 8:33PM
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I have two mature yew shrubs on the south-facing side of my home that get full sun all day. I noticed at the beginning of spring that the branches on one of the shrubs were dying (drying up) on the side of the shrub that gets most of the sunlight. I thought this may be due to lack of water and took special care to water more thoroughly; however, little by little more branches are dying. What could be wrong and can I do anything at this point to save this beautiful shrub? Thank you.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 1:18PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

New question, should start new thread.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 2:10PM
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Same topic though, so easier/faster for searching (less threads).. just IMHO.

John, how long have they been planted there? What size are they? Did you fertilize them? -- and if so, when? And also, are these in pots by any chance?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 12:06AM
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Overwatering is my guess. Yews are EXTREMELY sensitive to bad drainage or overwatering.

Check the soil around the yew and see if it always damp. If it is that's bad!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2007 at 3:39PM
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