Cutback shrubs refuse to comeback!

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Cut back in spring, still bare in fall, yet still no reason to despair. 

Yew dogs! What to do with cutbacks that made no comeback

I was in one of your garden classes last winter and I asked about trimming back my yews. I was so unsure about pruning aggressively even after you said I could, that I came to another of your classes and asked again after class. I understood that I should trim them back in March.

I tried to leave the main branches and cut back to a foot less than the full growth I wanted. I thought I followed your advice but two yews have no growth and the other two minimal amounts.

The middle yews have been planted there for at least 5 years. The yew closest to the porch was here when we bought the house 25 years ago and the yew to the right has been there about 18 years. I can't wait for another year as this is the front of my house.

What should I do now? Comments from family and friends include: What grade did you get in the pruning class?... Was this bonsai? What's with the front? Where will we hang our Christmas lights?

The advice you gave on my hemlock, dogwoods and hydrangea pruning worked out very well. Alas...the yews are a disappointment. HELP. - B.B. -

If a tree dies,
plant another in its place.
- Linnaeus -

Unfortunately, that does happen sometimes. Sometimes it's because the plant had some inherent weakness. This year it happened to us, too. We think the weather interfered with the yews' regrowth, stopping them from pushing out from old wood as they normally would.


Much more about this topic, and these plants, in ensemble issue What's Coming Up #164 and in To cut boldly

LaneYews1_2938s.jpg  LaneYews2_N2943s.jpg  LaneYews4_N2946s.jpg

If a plant that you cut back, dies, you haven't lost anything except a plant that did not and could not fit into your garden scheme. Don't cry over hard cuts that fail to come back. Consider the now-bare spot as an opportunity to try something new, and go looking for something that will not overgrow as the original tenant did.
- Janet -

If a bush is too big, don't ask "should I?" Go ahead and cut it. If it lives, great. If it dies, replace it with something better suited!  - Janet -