deer damage to common yew bushes

Asked April 2, 2020, 4:22 PM EDT

the deer completely stripped the needles from my yew bushes, Can they recover or will I need to replace them? If they can be recovered, what do I need to do? Do I cut them down completely? The image is of the one healthy bush to make sure that I have correctly identified the bush, Thank you

Anoka County Minnesota

3 Responses

It depends on how bad the damage is. The yews (yes, they are yews) will grow back from healthy tissue. But, depending on the extent of the damage, it may take several seasons to fully recover. Yews are pretty tolerant to heavy pruning. Read here about pruning yews (which is what the deer did to yours):
https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/pruning_evergreen_shrubs

Read here about controlling deer:
https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/white-tailed-deer-damage

Yews are often listed as deer-resistant (they are toxic) but the deer don't read the literature and a hungry deer will eat almost anything.


Thanks for the response. Should I prune the yew bushes now or wait for another month. And should I cut them back quite heavily?

I'd wait until June or July to see what you've got. Then prune to shape. Yews can be pruned almost any time. I used to do mine in midsummer when they got shaggy.