Brown branches on a yew tree
Our yew tree is at least 50 years old. This spring it started getting orange branches, which are now turning brown . (Photos are taken from a second story window) Any ideas about what's causing that and what we can do about it? (We love this tree!)
Yews do not like "wet feet." The immense quantities of rain we had this year is killing many yews in soil that is not draining well. Saturated soil do not have space for oxygen, which roots need to be healthy. Wet soil leads to root rots that kill the plant.
Prune out the dead branches. If possible, improve drainage. You may be able to change the grade nearby or divert water with landscape ties, rocks or a shallow gully or ditch.
Do not pile mulch on the trunk. Mulch should never touch trunks or be more than 2-3" deep.
Hopefully, not too much root has been damaged.