The Q&A Archives: brown areas on yews

Question: I landscaped my mother-in-law's yard at the end of June using emerald yews and azaleas. Recently it has been 100-103 degrees here and she has been watering twice a day. The azaleas look great and most of the yews do too -- lots of new light green growth. However, there a several branches on some of the yews that have turned brown and died -- even on ones with very vigorous new growth. Could this be from too much water or from the foliage staying wet? Please advise.

Incidently, I love your plants. Very good root growth with the soil mixture that you use. I try to purchase all Monrovia where possible.

Susan Coman

Answer: Excess water (or poorly draining soils) can cause dieback in yews. Even though the weather has been hot, the yews will still get by with one-inch of water per week. Daily watering can exclude oxygen from the soil which can suffocate the roots. It will be much better for your yews if you dig a water well or watering basin beneath each and flood the basin once each week. If the weather is really hot you can flood the basin, allow it to drain, then flood it a second time. This method of watering concentrates the moisture over the rootmass and allows it to trickle down, wetting then entire root mass. Wait 3-4 days, then dig down into the soil. If it is still moist 3" beneath the surface, you won't need to water for another 3-4 days; if it is dry, it is time to water.

Best wishes with your landscape. We're glad you like Monrovia plants!

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