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SkillWill

Unhappy / Sick Yew

Question

I'd be grateful for any advice from people in the know. My yew tree is looking unwell and I'd be very sad if it died. All the other yews in the area are much greener and more bulked out. It did have a reasonable 'crop' of berries which I'm hoping is a sign it's not quite dead yet - but is there anything I can do to help it out?

 

cRUOGVkrIqTODM-daRMcJe9lqGZk_g9DatR-FTqFTb30FC1YRDqF=w511-h681-no

 

P6Zvvgpl4VOX42_MJAHQwL6On85z5eRk3MrkW7hTYf9peV2Qqzh3=w511-h681-no

 

Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Few more (bad) pics here:

 

https://goo.gl/photos/oTBRTbHbABBMX97j8

 

Edit: I don't mind paying for someone to come and do some pruning / fixing if that would help in any way...

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Unfortunately a "heavy crop " is often a sign of a last desperate bid to reproduce ...... I would suspect root issues are the cause of the demise of this specimen , would be good to see pics of basal area and surrounds , has there been recent excavations nearby ? spillage of something ..fuel ..salt etc , tarmac or concrete surface ? raising or lowering of soil levels etc etc .. I have seen a Yew like this caused by a large accumulation of grass cuttings at the base of the tree ..

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Thanks for the response I really appreciate it.

 

There has been a new driveway put in ~15 months ago and I also dug a little trench to put some laurel saplings in to make a hedge. I will add some pictures around the base tomorrow.

 

Making the assumption that it probably is root damage - is there anything I can do?

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I would not be hasty and fell it, give it chance, Yew can sometimes almost come back from the dead, IME.

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Thanks for the response I really appreciate it.

 

There has been a new driveway put in ~15 months ago and I also dug a little trench to put some laurel saplings in to make a hedge. I will add some pictures around the base tomorrow.

 

Making the assumption that it probably is root damage - is there anything I can do?

 

some mulch around the rooting area will help

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I added a few pics of the base to the album (and above).

 

Thanks for the advice about mulching. What I intend to do is lightly dig the topsoil away in a circle, say 1m radius, and then put some bone, blood and fishmeal down, then cover that in bark and water in a little.

 

Is that good?

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others are the experts here but i don't think those bins are in the right place and the foot traffic around there looks to have compacted the ground a bit.

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I added a few pics of the base to the album (and above).

 

Thanks for the advice about mulching. What I intend to do is lightly dig the topsoil away in a circle, say 1m radius, and then put some bone, blood and fishmeal down, then cover that in bark and water in a little.

 

Is that good?

 

I think the new drive way has probably significantly impacted on the rooting area of the tree, coupled with the trench. Another unknown is how much compaction closer to the tree occurred during the works.

 

As a rough guide, twelve times the trees diameter at breast height should be regarded as a construction exclusion zone/root protection area, with no digging, soil level changes or traffic.

 

Was the driveway brand new or a replacement for an existing one? With the hard surfacing next door and the road way beyond the tree, the optimum rooting area would have been the nice grassy area, the area you'd expect a significant proportion of the roots to be in as elsewhere conditions were sub-optimal for growth. Then a new drive is cut through it?

 

If you're going to mulch, it really needs to be at least to the drip line of the canopy - where the fibrous roots are going to be more prevalent. Decompacting the soil might also be of benefit. Good luck.

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I wouldn't dig the area over. You have probably already lost quite a few surface roots and digging will risk losing more.

 

I would move the bins and mulch over as much of the area as you can, out to the drip line. I would use a double layer of corrugated cardboard, followed by some wood chip from a rosaceous species such as plum, cherry, apple or pear (you haven't given a location, but there may be someone on here near enough to you to let you have some). Worms love the cardboard and will drag it down, aerating the soil and breaking up the compaction. The wood chip from rosaceous species is higher in sugars which will leach into the soil and benefit the tree. The combination will mean the tree is no longer competing with the grass for moisture and nutrients.

 

There are other, more direct actions you could use such having the soil aerated with an air spade and watering the area with a sugar solution, but I am not qualified to offer an opinion as to whether these would be beneficial here. Another consideration may be whether you have lost so much root area that the tree is retrenching to compensate, in which case reducing the top may reduce stress? However, again this is a question, rather than a suggestion that you should do so - others are better qualified than me to answer it!

 

One good sign may be that the growth near the base of the tree looks a good, healthy green. If this is real rather than an artefact of the picture it suggests the tree is fighting back and you stand a good chance.

 

Alec

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Thanks for taking the time to reply, I appreciate it.

 

The driveway was replacing an existing one so I hope that didn't do too much damage, admittedly the laurels are new.

 

I have since moved the bins and am going to do the mulching / cardboard advice above that is just what I needed. There is some good growth right at the bottom of the trunk so I'm hoping that is a good sign.

 

I'll try and post on here in the future with a positive update!

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