Yews Under Siege

Asked May 8, 2019, 3:46 PM EDT

There are three mature Yews abutting my property, the center one of which had to be cut down in the Fall of 2018 because it had turned completely yellow and died. The two remaining Yews are now in the early stages of turning yellow. I have attached pictures of the two remaining Yews with a close-up of a transitioning branch, a close-up of the affected needles and a picture that shows the relationship of the two, including the gap between them where the dead one once stood. Sixty feet away there is a row of Juniper bushes that extends in a line for approximately 180 feet. These too are exhibiting yellowing and browning along the entire line. I will send pictures of this problem in a second email that will reference this one.

Howard County Maryland shrubs abiotic issues dying mature yews

1 Response

We received both of your questions.
We don't think that the issues with your yews and junipers are related. They generally get different pests and diseases that are specific to their species.

Yews yellowing and dying have been a big issue statewide this year. In almost all cases it is related to the tremendous and historic amounts of rain last year. They can not stand 'wet feet'. Our soils remained saturated for a long time and this can compromise roots and lead to root rot and death of the shrubs. We expect to continue seeing this decline as the season continues.

For your junipers, what percentage of the foliage would you say is affected? We see lots of new, fresh growth and little browning.
What we see in your photos is not terribly concerning. Prune out the dead branches to tidy up.
That said, there are two diseases that can affect juniper, which are outlined on this page: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/juniper-twig-blights-phomopsis-and-kabatina
Our plant pathologist is not in the office at the moment. If you would like we can share your photos with him upon his return.
Let us know if you would like this by replying directly to this question/answer.

Christine