Yew Shrubs Dropping Lots Of Brown Needles After Harsh Winter

Question From: Rochester, New York, United States
Q: My four yew shrubs with southern exposure are extremely brown with tons of needles on the ground around the plant after this harsh winter in Rochester, NY. Are they dying, should they be removed, or will they survive??

A: Yews are extremely resilient and often revive. That said, you will need to be patient and see what developes. Once they begin to develop new growth you will have an idea how severe the die-back and what they will look like after you cut away dead wood. Wait to fertilize in fall after they go dormant. Don't fertilize now or you will stimulate new growth at the expense of stored energy which will weaken them more. Let Mother Nature do her thing. Best Nancy