I think I might've killed Yew.
May 12, 2015 8:36 AM   Subscribe

In the early spring I severely pruned some very large and very old Yew bushes. I cut them down to old wood, with no remaining green growth. I had heard they were hardy and would sprout from old wood, but it's been over a month now and I've still just got a bunch of shrub-shaped brown sticks out there. Did I kill them?

I didn't cut the yews down to the stump or anything, they're still about four feet tall and four feet wide. But all the green growth was on the outer 6 inches of the plants and I cut them down about a foot from their previous size -- so all the greenery is gone. It has been very dry here and I'm not sure if the soil has been fertilized recently. So perhaps it will come back but just needs more TLC? I thought if it was going to come back i'd see some kind of budding by now.
posted by RingerChopChop to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
It should come back. Make sure its watered and fertilized though.
posted by JPD at 8:46 AM on May 12, 2015

If you cut out all the new growth for this year's first growth cycle, be patient. You may need to wait until late summer to get a second flush of growth. Do keep watering.
posted by drlith at 8:52 AM on May 12, 2015

One month is not a long enough waiting time, you could still get a flush of new growth in late summer, or even into next spring. Yew are hardy, and they can survive even getting cut down to bonsai size. Be patient.
posted by DGStieber at 9:28 AM on May 12, 2015

Best answer: If they're old, established, and were in good health before the cutting back, they'll probably come back. The new growth buds are pretty impossible to see until they push out from underneath the bark, but you'll eventually see them start to emerge (it can take weeks, months). I wouldn't fertilize with anything other than simple soil amendments like earthworm castings until it's got a lot of vegetative growth going, especially if they're quite established. That's mostly going to help with water retention in the long run, so it might be advisable regardless.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:30 AM on May 12, 2015

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