Standing in water all day long is not fun, unless it is on some sunny beach in a warm climate. Even then, you would get out every so often to dry off. Everyone has experienced 'pruning' of the feet or hands; when they become wrinkled after being in the water for a long time. The condition can get worse if the moisture is held in by boots or gloves. Trench foot, foot fungus, and other maladies will accompany wet, soggy situations.
Well, the same thing can happen to many landscape plants. One plant that is especially susceptible to this condition is the Yew. The Yew is a shrub, or small tree, that is often formally sheared into a globe, pyramid, or hedge shape. It is one of the most popular shrubs in landscapes. It will grow well in moderate shade or full sun. Yews prefer sandy, well-drained soils that are not heavy or compacted. When the soils become waterlogged, Yews will often become infected with several root rot diseases. Phytophthora and Armillaria are two varieties of root rot diseases that will infect Yews.
Oxygen availability is reduced anytime soils become saturated. The water fills the spaces between the soil particles and the plants suffer. Proper planting and site location is very critical when planting Yews. Choose a location that is not in a low area or next to a gutter down spout. If the area is prone to flooding, choose another plant. Many people will dig a hole that is just larger than the root ball. This will not allow for good root growth. It is better to dig the hole twice as large in diameter as the root ball and one and a half times as deep as the length. Adding yard care soil amendments, such as peat moss, is usually not required. It is better to reuse the same soil that came out of the hole. Break it up so that it is easy to replace. The top of the root ball should be at grade level or slightly above grade. Make a circular mound about 3 to 4” high around the perimeter of the hole. As the soil settles, the mound will settle into the hole. The saucer-shaped ring will also help retain water to aid to the establishment of the new plant.
Yews are attractive plants that come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and growth habits. They will live a long time, provided they are planted correctly and in a good location. Talk with your landscaper, garden center manager, or county extension service for recommendations of varieties that are best suited for your area. Your friendly neighborhood Spring Green expert can help you with further lawn care services and expertise, as well.
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