Common Yew Hedge Problems & Diseases

Firstly, yew hedges are extremely hardy and durable, so the problems experienced by these plants are minimal. That being said, if your Yew faces a problem, it is important to identify and tackle the issue as soon as possible to ensure your plant’s survival. Here are some common yew hedge problems:

Why is my Yew Turning Brown?

Too Much or Too Little Water

When put under certain stress conditions, it is a common problem for yew hedges to turn brown. There are many reasons why this may occur.

For example, Yews dislike waterlogged soil, so problems with the roots can develop if there’s too much moisture at the base of the plant. This can turn the roots brown and can unfortunately cause the plant to decay.

Too little water can be just as much of a problem as too much water. Whilst yew hedging is quite a drought-resistant plant, young Yew hedges need to receive adequate water regularly, especially throughout summer months. It’s also important to choose a well-drained planting site during extremely dry conditions.

Winter Damage

Winter months bring colder temperatures that can cause damage to a Yew plant. If the weather changes too rapidly, such as mild weather to freezing temperatures in a short space of time, this can really damage the plant.

Strong sunshine and not enough water combined with these temperatures can cause the plant to brown in the last months of winter or early spring. The worst damage can be seen on the South and West sides of the plant where sunshine is strongest. With enough care and attention, the plant can be restored to its former glory.

De-Icing Salts & Road Gritting

Another common yew hedge problem is salt. If your hedging is near pavements, paths or roads, your Yew may be affected by de-icing salts and gritting. The salts may be washed from the pavement via rainwater into the soil of the Yew. This will penetrate and affect the roots of the plant.

This can also cause the Yew to turn brown, especially the side closer to the pavement or road. The effects of the salt are likely to be seen in early spring, but this can be resolved by using a large amount of water to inundate the soil and wash the salt away.

Animal Damage

Animals can damage Yew in many different ways. For example, when cats and dogs go to the toilet, the acidity in their urine can damage the soil conditions surrounding the plant which can have negative effects and cause the Yew to turn brown.

Another common Yew hedge problem is bark damage. Animals including rabbits can chew and damage the bark of the trees, but people can also inadvertently damage these trees. 

Yews are very susceptible to bark damage and do not recover well, so take care when pruning and maintaining your Yew and try to deter animals from damaging their bark.

Yew Hedge Diseases

Whilst there are very few diseases that affect Yew hedges, there are a number you should be aware of. Here are some examples of diseases that cause problems for Yew hedges.

Root Rot

Root Rot can be extremely detrimental to trees, especially Yew and is often fatal. Root Rot is caused by a fungus known as Phytophthora. As a disease that attacks the roots, it is fatal to all plants it infects unless it is dealt with quickly. Since the roots are deprived of water, the leaves and top of the plant begin to turn brown. 

Root Rot is caused by prolonged wetness of the soil, so is particularly common in autumn and winter months. Therefore, monitoring the planting conditions are very important. If the planting site is not ideal for the Yew, we’d recommend that you move the plant. 

Don’t lose hope if your plant is beginning to turn brown and you suspect root rot. If there are still green buds on the plant, then it is still alive and there’s potential for the plant to survive. 

Whilst there is no cure for the disease you may be able to prevent its spread by drenching the soil with preventative fungal sprays.

Common Yew Hedge Problems

Common Yew problems can be difficult to resolve, but it’s important that you at least try to prevent the spread disease or control the watering of your plant. Salt and winter damage can also contribute to the decay of your Yew. 

Hopes Grove Nurseries are a Kent-based, family-run business specialising in hedging plants. Our knowledgeable staff are passionate about every plant, from Potentilla hedging to Hornbeam hedging, we have a plant for every garden. If you want to learn more about us, buy online today or use our contact form to get in touch.