The Q&A Archives: Dead upright yews

Question: Over the last 3yrs. I have lost 7 yews in my hedge. They die one after another. It started with #2 and is now at #8. The needles start to get lighter than the adjacent yews, then get worse and eventually lose their needles altogether.

Answer: Plants require water to live, but yews are not tolerant of wet soils so I wonder if your plants are dying from root rot? Over watering can cause dieback due to drowning of roots, encourage the growth of water-loving weeds, promote diseases caused by bacteria and fungi, and may encourage other pests. Water stressed plants will begin to wilt as leaves change to yellow or a light shade of green. Leaves also show signs of curling. Dying leaves may remain green but become brittle as they dry out. Older leaves may turn yellow or brown and may drop prematurely. Under watering, usually characterized by short and frequent, or too infrequent watering sessions, can lead to development of shallow root systems and similar symptoms. I can't inspect the site or check the soil drainage so you'll have to put on your detective cap and do some investigation. Hope the rest of your plants remain healthy!

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