Do you remember last November I planted some Yews? We ripped out the old hedges and put in some new yews and I was wildly enthusiastic and optimistic about it here. Strangely, I’ve barely mentioned them since. This is because they aren’t doing so well and it’s always nicer to write about things that are going well.
It all started to go wrong we think when winter hit hard a mere couple of weeks after they were planted. Then an incredibly dry Spring came in. They began to look a little off-colour. We watered. They looked sicker and sicker. I decided not to stress them by cutting them to shape until they were looking a bit healthier. We cleared the grass from around them (initially my employer wanted grass right up to them) and mulched and stepped up the watering even further. The RHS’ advisory service ruled out our worst fears about Phytophthera.
Then, whether it was due to our actions or the weather changing in June, they started to recover, barring two which were clearly past saving. We sighed with relief. I planned to do the shaping this month, thinking it would give the wounds time to harden before serious frostiness began. But no. They started to decline again. Now all of them at least have bronzing of the needles and several have yellowing.
It’s not looking good. I’ve cut out anything that’s actually dead, and am delaying shaping again, probably till Spring now. The nursery I bought them from advised removing the mulch in case, having been too dry, they’re now too wet. I’ve given them a foliar feed of a manure tea. Ian le Gros from Hyde Hall was kind enough to give me some advice, which gave me hope that the ones which only have bronzing will recover in the Spring. And barring that, I’ve got fingers and toes crossed.
It’s horribly disappointing, not to mention expensive and time consuming! Have you ever instituted a big project in your garden only to have it fail in some way?