Skip navigation.

Yew death!

Last post 09-04-2008 6:24 PM by Ariadne. 7 replies.

Page 1 of 1 (8 items)

  • 06/04/2008 03:41 PM
    • Ariadne
    • Contemplating on the compost heap
    • 05 Apr 2008
    • 75
    Top 150 Contributor
    Reply | Contact

    Hello, I'm a newbie & I need the benefit of everyone's advice!

    After growing Yews from cuttings over several years, & growing them successfully in my large very open (understatement!) garden for about 6 or 7 years, last year 3/4 of them suddenly upped & died. I know we had an atrocious summer, & yes for approx 10 weeks parts of my garden was under 2 feet of water, but not the part the yews were growing in. So, after fetching them out of the ground some months later (to give them every chance of miraculous resusitation!) & finding no evidence of disease or pest, I'm stumped as to the cause of death.

    Can anyone suggest what may have caused it & whether this is perhaps an area I should avoid planting in.

    Thanks in advance,  Ari x

     

    Sitting, spinning threads of stories & weaving the colourful strands of life.
  • 06/04/2008 03:44 PM
    • Bog Myrtle
    • Southern Turkey
    • 07 Feb 2007
    • 346
    Top 50 Contributor
    Reply | Contact

    You're saying your garden is very open Ariadne, so I wonder if these plants could have been killed by the wind? Lots of conifers are very susceptible to wind chill, and will go brown and die if exposed to sustained periods of very strong or very cold wind.

  • 06/04/2008 03:55 PM
    • Ariadne
    • Contemplating on the compost heap
    • 05 Apr 2008
    • 75
    Top 150 Contributor
    Reply | Contact

    Could be, but if that were the case, why last year?

    They were growing apparently well before the horrible weather started late last spring, & have weathered some truly horrendous gales, cold & otherwise in the past & seemed to thrive on it.

    I have got more yews in pots currently, but don't now know where to plant them. I was hoping to use them there as part of a shelter-belt. 

    Sitting, spinning threads of stories & weaving the colourful strands of life.
  • 07/04/2008 12:20 PM
    Not Ranked
    Reply | Contact

    Hi There,

                 We have two Yews that were planted about 24 years ago in a belt of other trees dividing us from our small field. Yet in the wet of last summer they too succumbed and are now just golden brown and showing no signs of life. The top and side of our garden were flooded for large parts of last summer and we lost everything in the polytunnel and only managed to harvest 11 roots of the 110 potatoes planted due to the water. We also lost several other shrubs and a young Korean Fir again we think due to the wet.

    Muriel Peckham
  • 07/04/2008 03:16 PM
    Top 25 Contributor
    Reply | Contact

    Ariadne, 

    Yews are highly resistant to the root disease honey fungus (which is a big killer of woody plants) but sadly are susceptible to a microscopic root disease called Phytophthora - see http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profiles1005/phytophthora.asp. This could explain why you didn't see any obvious signs of disease. The only answer is to dig up dead or dying plants in that area, replace some of the soil with fresh and not replant with susceptible plants.

    Alternatively, the wet summer could have been to blame as yews hate to sit with their feet in the wet. Bulking out the soil with garden compost to improve structure and drainage before replating is the best answer.

    Lastly, make sure you didn't plant any of them too deep - the first roots on the stem should be just below soil level rather than buried several inches down.

    Hope this helps.

    Helen Bostock
  • 07/04/2008 05:59 PM
    • Digger
    • Northern UK
    • 18 Jul 2005
    • 5,233
    Top 10 Contributor
    Reply | Contact

    is this the same disease that was being reffered to "sudden oak death"?

    digger Devil Sage of the fells
  • 08/04/2008 08:17 AM
    Top 25 Contributor
    Reply | Contact

    Closely related but not the same. Sudden oak death attacks the leaves and stems of plants rather than the roots. http://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profiles0106/phytophthoraramorum.asp

    Helen Bostock
  • 09/04/2008 06:24 PM
    • Ariadne
    • Contemplating on the compost heap
    • 05 Apr 2008
    • 75
    Top 150 Contributor
    Reply | Contact

    Thanks everyone (particularly Helen!) for your help.

    I've just had a look at my one remaining dead yew still in the ground, there appears to be no sign of lesions, blistering, discolouration (other than the leaves are brown!)........even the roots were fairly plentiful, so I can only assume that the cause of death was drowning in last year's abnormally high water-table. Although the flooding was some way away from the yews, I think I had planted them too deeply & the water-level under the soil would, I think have submerged the root system for some considerable time. 

    I can't say if Phytophthora was also a problem, but it hasn't featured in the garden noticably before.......I will keep a beady eye open nevertheless.

    Thanks again. Ari x

    Sitting, spinning threads of stories & weaving the colourful strands of life.