The Q&A Archives: dense spreading yew: OK to divide???

Question: Hi, I hope I sent this to the correct dept---If not, please fwd to trees or whoever...Can the 3.6 gallon dense spreading yew be divided into 2-4 separate plants with some reasonable chance of, say, 50% or better survival? If so, would you suggest any particular method of doing so or direct me to any author/book or manufacturer of gardening products (bareroot gels, etc) to guide me thru the specifics? THANK YOU!!!

Answer: Dividing an established plant may not be successful, but you can certainly try. You'll want to make sure that each division has a healthy clump of roots and a leafy stem or two. Dividing the root mass shouldn't be lethal, but it will set the plant back a bit before it resumes growing. If you'd like to increase your stock of yews, you can take tip cuttings and they should be transplant size in 2-3 years. Tip cuttings are much easier than trying to divide an established plant. Simply take 4-6" cuttings from this year's growth, strip leaves from the bottom half of the cutting, dip the cut end in rooting hormone and set it into a plastic pot filled with moistened potting soil. You can drape plastic wrap over the top of the pot to slow water evaporation. Set the pot outdoors in an area protected from sunshine and be sure to keep the potting soil moist but not soggy wet. You'll know your cuttings have rooted when you see new growth. Best wishes with your project!

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