Ask a Question forum: Not So Ever Green

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Western New York
RandyBeer
May 28, 2018 8:46 AM CST
I live in Western New York (Buffalo Area) and after about 16 years all my evergreens have started to die. It's now 4 years later and they have reached the point where all 10 are going to need to be replaced. My problem is that I don't understand what has happened thus I'm afraid I will have the same issue with the replacements. 8 of these are on the south side of my home, while 2 are on the east side, but all have the same condition. Obviously we have some severe winters, and I assume that the deer and rabbits might be assisting this demise. Our summers are easy in comparison with much of the country and I have a sprinkler system so they are getting enough water. I would assume where these are located that they aren't sitting in water since it is full sun.

Anyone have any thoughts to what is going on?

Thanks,
-Randy

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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
May 28, 2018 9:00 AM CST
Welcome!

Have they always been kept trimmed across the top?
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 28, 2018 9:16 AM CST
I'm no expert but the term evergreen means that the plant remains green during the colder months, not that it will live forever.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Bill
Livonia MI (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
May 28, 2018 9:39 AM CST
What kind of evergreens are we talking about?
Is it a mixture of types like pines, cedars and yews or are they all of a single type?
I am inclined to suspect a cataclysmic event such as a leaching issue from a chemical spray or a die back caused by something leaching off of the house. Any chance of something washing down from the surrounding yard?
What I find disturbing is that all 10 are going at once. I assume they are all in similar shape. That's is why I feel something out of the ordinary causing wholesale die off.
Children are the messages we send to a time we will never see.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
May 28, 2018 9:54 AM CST
How about pictures of others ?
What are they ?
Do they grow well in the summer ?
This would all help.

Evergreen shrubs and trees need deep watering year round.
More water than grass.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
May 28, 2018 9:59 AM CST
If shrubs are constantly trimmed off at the top which is what it looks like in the picture, plants tend to decline eventually. That's why I asked about the "pruning". I agree with Bill and Philip it would help to see pictures or at least know if any are different species, I interpreted the question as meaning they are all the same and have all perhaps been treated the same, i.e. topped.
Western New York
RandyBeer
May 28, 2018 11:26 AM CST
Thanks for all the responses. You guys caught me off guard.

Yes, they have always been trimmed across the top.

They actually are Taxus Hicks Yew Hedges.

Big Bill, Interesting comment. I have my home sprayed 3 times a year for bees, It might very well be leaching off the house in the rain.

Attaching more pics. Do you guys think these are gone?

Thanks for your quick responses. Happy holidays.

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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
May 28, 2018 11:41 AM CST
My guess is that 16 years of having their tops cut off has done them in given how short they are compared to the plant's natural height.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
May 28, 2018 11:50 AM CST
sooby said:My guess is that 16 years of having their tops cut off has done them in given how short they are compared to the plant's natural height.


I agree. The plant wants to be 8-12 feet tall and keeping them cut so short was...less than ideal. Time to rethink your landscaping - and probably select something that likes to grow short rather than tall. Thumbs up

If you know that your home exterior will be sprayed to prevent bees (and I don't think you mean honeybees) you need to factor that in when selecting new shrubs.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Western New York
RandyBeer
May 28, 2018 12:56 PM CST
Thanks all. My luck, paid a landscape architect big dollars 20 years ago and he spec'd those shrubs.

Live and learn.

Thanks again.
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

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plantladylin
May 28, 2018 12:59 PM CST
I know nothing about Taxus but here's our database listing for Hicks Yew (Taxus 'Hicksii')
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Name: Bill
Livonia MI (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
May 28, 2018 1:14 PM CST
Oh you are welcome to be sure. It has to be heartbreaking that they are all dieing.
I had yews on Long Island for 35 years but I am unaware of the variety. I pruned them ever so slightly so they would remain within my overall landscape profile. It is worth mentioning that these yews grew in the shade of a 60' wide, four trunked Copper Beech tree. So the only direct sun was December through mid April when the sun wasn't as intense.
It could be a combination of too much light and too much pruning that just caught up to them and they are slowly dieing.
Children are the messages we send to a time we will never see.
Name: Deb
Planet Earth (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
May 28, 2018 1:24 PM CST
We had a neighbor who planted Douglas firs along his front fence line. He kept them pruned into little balls about 3' tall and while I laughed at them (they just looked silly to me), they were healthy enough. When he died, the new folks let the firs grow and they are now a line of 20' tall firs with no evidence of their former balls. I was surprised at how quickly they recovered from such severe pruning. So, my thought is some disease, bug infestation, or chemical exposure. Perhaps take a sprig into your County Extension office, or to a Master Gardener clinic. I'd definitely try to figure out the underlying cause of death before replanting.
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