Transplanting a Yew


Hi – I have a large healthy yew bush in my front garden that is outgrowing its spot. I would like to transplant it to another location – it will receive different light (a few hours of early to mid afternoon sun, say 1pm through 4-5pm). I would like advice on how to successfully transplant the shrub please.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

Yews are great shrubs for borders, entranceways, paths, specimen gardening, or mass plantings.
Yews flourish in sun to partial sun and well drained soil, however it is tolerant of most any exposure and soil make up with the exception of overly wet soil, which may cause root rot.

Transplanting in our current hot weather can be quite stressful for plants. Early spring before new growth begins is a good time to transplant yews; the next best timing is late summer/early fall., so September would be the optimal time.

When you are ready to transplant choose a cool and overcast day, and work as quickly as you can. Water your plant thoroughly the day before you plan to move it. When you dig your plant up, try to disturb it’s roots as little as possible, and bring as much of the root as you can with the plant. Once plants are dug up, they should be moved as quickly as possible. If you need to leave your plant while you dig the new hole make sure it’s root ball and surrounding soil are well wrapped in damp newspaper or burlap and  are placed in a cool, shady location.   When you are replanting, make sure your hole is big enough and put a good handful of organic material such as compost in the bottom. Put the plant into the hole and fill it approximately halfway with water, permitting the water to run out. This settles the soil surrounding the roots. Fill the hole with soil, and press down gently around the plant to ensure there are no pockets of air in the soil.   Once your plant is in their new location, it is a good idea to add a top dressing of organic material. Water thoroughly, and make sure you continue a program of watering daily for the next few weeks to help your plant establish itself.

The addition of a few inches of mulch around the yew and over the roots, will help maintain a consistent level of moisture for root survival.  Do not add fertilizer in the fall.

The following web site will give you detailed instructions on how to transplant shrubs with the greatest success