Hicks Yews – Wind Damage

(Question)

Hi,

The four hicks yews I had planted about 3 years ago were coming along so well and then this cold, icy winter hit.  One or two of my yews have some brown on them from, what I’ve been told is wind burn.  I haven’t done anything yet to them.  Any suggestions on what I should do with the brown patches?  Are the yews salvageable?

(Answer)

It was a difficult year for many plants due to the prolonged freezing temperatures, the more deeply frozen soil, and that arctic wind.  So wind burn is not surprising.

My first suggestion is to water your shrubs well now as they spent a lot of this past winter and this spring needing rehydration.

Unless the entire yew is yellow and dead looking then they are salvageable, and from the picture you’ve attached, yours appear to be worth trying to save.  Give the yews a good shake to remove the dead needles.  The brown areas need to be removed.  A sharp, clean pruning secateurs can easily nip off the dead branches – just cut at a junction below the dead branch.  If you need to shape the shrubs or shorten them, now is a good time too.  Next, a soluble fertilizer for evergeen shrubs and trees can be applied, along with the watering.  Your plants should thicken up nicely with a little TLC.