Can a dying Yew shrub be revived?

Asked July 19, 2018, 11:53 AM EDT

Hi, We have a dying Yew shrub. The needles are mostly brown and trunk seems to be starting to rot. It really took a turn for the worse after being trimmed last week. Are there any ways to attempt to revive it such as removing old mulch and spreading new soil on the roots? A picture is attached.

Montgomery County Maryland yew decline shrub

1 Response

The yew looks dead. Removing mulch and adding new soil will not bring it back. Once a plant dies it is difficult to diagnose why. Yews do not get a lot of insect and disease issues. May be a root problem. Yews in general do not like wet feet and grow best in well drained soil. Heavy clay soils and poor drainage can cause decline. Look for downspouts and any drainage issues in the area. If so, you will need to correct this before replanting.
Also, look around the base of the shrub for silver dollar sized holes. This may be a sign of voles, a type of meadow mouse that feeds on the roots of trees and shrubs http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/voles

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