The Q&A Archives: Browning Branches on Pyramidal Yew

Question: About 2 months ago I planted a pyramidal yew, which is about 2 feet tall. Since planting, it's gotten some brownish rust colored branches on one side at the very bottom. Could you advise me as to whether it is in need of water or is there a more serious problem with it? It was planted according to the directions and I have been watering it on occasion, but maybe not enough. Thank you for your time and advice.

Answer: Based on your description I can think of several possible causes for the browning. One is that a dog is using it as a marker target. Another is that a branch or primary root was damaged in shipping or planting and is showing stress as a result. Another is that there is a root/water problem on that side of the plant, possibly due to something such as excessive runoff from a gutter or downspout, or inadequate watering due to an irrigation system problem. The soil should be kept evenly and lightly moist but never sopping wet. Finally, another typical cause would be herbicide or other chemical damage, perhaps due to overspray or salt accumulation from winter sidewalk treatments. I hope this helps you troubleshoot the problem.

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