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Yew Hedges not looking great! Help!

Hi All,


First time posting on here so apologies in advance!


My wife and I had planted 66 yew hedges in the weeks leading up to Christmas time (2018). We tried to prepare the soil as best as we could with hand tools, using a good amount of rotten manure in the process. Through the winter the hedges all looked pretty healthy and were all of a similar colouring. During early spring, when we began to get the occasional dry spell, we made it a point to water the hedges (generally once a month!). We also gave them a very light pruning as we read that it would encourage bushiness! We fed them using a seaweed liquid solution for good measure too!


Unfortunately, in the last month or so, two of them began turning an orange-brown colour. We’ve given them a little more of a watering, laid some fresh compost around their bases, and foliar fed them using the seaweed liquid the other day. We try our best to stay on top of the weeds, so we’re wondering what on earth could be going wrong with these two, and if it’s a sign of something we’re doing wrongly? Should we be watering them more often in this weather, or perhaps foliar feeding them more often? Also, do we have any chance of saving these two?







  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,682
    They are large shrubs from what I can see, and if as you say, you only watered once a month when it started to get warmer, that is not enough for them to settle in. The more mature a shrub, the harder for them to settle.

    The brown ones are more or less dead. Take them out. The rest may knit together in time when you prune them back. The soil looks very dry. You can lay mulch over the top, and bark chip is ideal for holding moisture in for longer.

    You need to water them around the base very generously in the evenings or early mornings at least every 3-4 days now. Ease off if you see heavy rain or when it gets to autumn time when it's far cooler.
  • Hi borderline!

    Thanks for the quick response and advice! Am I using the wrong terminology when I refer to them as hedges, as opposed to shrubs? We bought them from the nursery with the intention of having a nice continuous yew hedge one day!

    i ve just been out to give them a good watering and will follow your guidance re. Every 3-4 days. We were cautious when it came to watering in the past as everything we read suggested that they didn’t like wet feet and too much water would be bad for them, but we re clearly at the other end of the Spectrum! 

    the Good news is that the majority of them are showing new growth which I guess must be a sign of them slowly establishing? What are your opinions on liquid feeds, fertilisers and foliage feeds? Should We be following any regimented routine?

    thanks again!

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,682
    Yes, the rest do show signs of new growth, so it's a case of keeping up with the watering around the base and if you need to feed, I would just used Fish, blood & bone. That's it. Not a fan of foliage feeds on shrubs. Some people do water in liquid seaweed feeds every month, but not totally essential. With these plants, it's just as important to prune them to help them branch out and grow more vigorously.
  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,287
    Just thought I would mention too it happens sometimes. The odd one goes.
    We saw a line of lovely new ones at a garden that is well tended, and there were two or three the following year when we visited that had gone the same as yours. 

     Maybe the nursery would replace them as the rest are okay, worth a try as you spent a fair amount of money with them I would imagine.
    Good Luck .
  • Thanks again Borderline, I will invest in some fish, blood & bone feed. How do I determine how regularly to feed them, should I be looking for certain signs of is it a case of feeding at set periods? With regards to pruning, I have only very lightly pruned them in early intention was to give them another light shave mid-july and then potentially end of August? I'm more than happy to prune them as regularly as possible to stimulate growth but again I'm afraid of going overboard with the limited knowledge I hold!

    Rubytoo, thank you for the comments. They were quite an investment to say the least, which is why I happily get on my hands and knees every few weeks to keep their bases free from weeds and try to give them the love they need (to the best of my knowledge!). I shall definitely try to contact the nursery and see if they might be willing to come to some sort of agreement :)

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,289
    Don't worry about the terminology @julian.bernard. You'd usually say hedging shrubs, but it's not important  :)
    As Borderline has said - thye're large specimens to get established, so you haven't done too badly at all. The ground they're in does look very dry, so watering is the key, as already said. It's not bad if you've only lost a couple. Mulching after a really thorough watering is highly beneficial.
    Re food - I agree with not overdoing it - it's not necessary if they've been put in well prepped ground. B,F & Bone is ideal, and you'd just apply that in spring as they start into new growth. Tickle it into the soil around each plant, and you can then apply some mulch over it. Some fresh compost would be ideal for that. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks! I am learning slowly… I’ve now given them a good watering, so hopefully we are on the right track. I plan on getting around to buying some of the fish/blood/bone feed this week and giving them that at the weekend with some additional compost to top it off. I presume despite missing the spring feeding time, it would still be worthwhile to sprinkle some on at this point? With regards to mulching, excuse my ignorance but would that entail any sort of wood chippings that would provide a considerable covering to the surface around the base, or are we referring to something else? Also, would you advise leaving a layer of this mulch/wood chip around the base all year round, or purely for the summer months to retain some of the moisture, and then clearing the area back to soil for the wetter months to give it more of a chance to dry and not rot the roots? Thanks again for all the help!
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,306
    Gardening is all about learning and building experience as we triumph and fail season after season. @julian.bernard you did really well to lose only two from such a mass planting spree. In regards to mulching, I tend to use soil improver in a nice thick layer which also looks better than bark based products and works really well. Work that fish blood and bone into the soil around the plants, aim for a little distance from the trunk as the feed will work best to be not in the rain shadow of the aim for the surround that gets properly moist by the rain.
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
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