Answer: This could be related to a number of factors. First, newly planted evergreens are especially subject to winter burn, or drying out during the winter. This can cause yellowing. Yews in particular are not suited to soil that is overly wet; the soil should not be saturated as it would be in a low area. The slightly raised planting area should be adequate to provide good drainage, but you might want to dig down a bit and see. Overfertilizing or accidental contact with an herbicide can cause yellowing. Contact with deicing salt to soil or foliage can also cause yellowing. Another possible cause would be freeze damage to new growth tips or buds. You might want to consult with your local county extension for more specific advice about your yews. As far as shrubs for a foundation on the north side of a house, yews would be a reasonably good choice. You might want to give them a temporary wind break of burlap screening or fencing next winter or two while they are still new, to help prevent them drying out in all that wind.
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