Mid-summer scenes part 2: Transplanting a yew

by Caroline Brown

Curt found a whole bunch of free yews on Craigslist. A woman was advertising that she had several free yews. The catch was that you had to dig them out yourself and transport them. Since we now have a TRUCK, Curt decided to go get one.

This is a photo of the yew in the truck. The yew itself is not that tall but has a really big diameter, and the rootball is big and there were a lot of cut roots.

Curt said that I should also show a picture of his blistered hands from digging the yew out. That’s too gross for my blog, but the point is that digging it out was a nightmare for him. Much more than he bargained for.

Planting it was no less of a nightmare. First of all, we went back and forth about the site. Curt wanted to put it below our Norway maple on a site where there’s no other plants and it’s very flat and one-dimensional. Also it would have helped us a little with privacy. But I was worried that we would hurt the maple’s roots and that the yew wouldn’t be able to compete with the maple for water, especially in its compromised post-transplant state.

So Curt dug a test site (notice how Curt does all the digging) and it was just too crazy with maple roots to think about planting it there. We couldn’t decide on Plan B–we finally decided to put it on the side of the deck, not ideal but it still works. The other problem was that it weighed about a million pounds. Well, not really, but it was easily over 150 pounds.

Finally we got it out of the truck bed, into the wheelbarrow, and into the hole. We filled the hole with soil that was mixed with fertilizer and then soaked it like crazy. We’ll give it a good soaking every day to make sure it gets enough water–that’s necessary because when Curt dug it out, roots got cut, and the roots are what carries water and other nutrients to the leaves.

Here’s a photo of the transplanted yew. It actually looks really nice in the spot by the deck and it really is a beautiful shrub. I’ll keep you posted on how it does as the summer and fall progresses!


9 Comments to “Mid-summer scenes part 2: Transplanting a yew”

  1. you guys are too funny….there’s even a Canadian yew so I know you have them “up there.”:

  2. I love craigslist. Especially the FREE section. Great find and YAY for your new truck 🙂


  3. Thanks for the ‘heads up’ re the YEW, we didn’t KNEW LOL…… 🙂

  4. Hello,

    I stumbled across your blog after googiling “transplanting yews”. I have several yews in my yard that my neighbor may take off my hands (if not, I was going to going the craiglist route too!)

    Question is, how did they take? Did they survive ok? I can’t for the life of me find any info on these…

    If you could respond, it would be much appreciated!

    Jen – Connecticut

  5. Hi Jen. The yew is great, has survived the winter. I had doubts because so much of the root system was cut when dug it out but it seems to be thriving. the trick I think is keeping it extra watered after it’s transplanted, since there are less roots to transport water.

  6. Thanks for the info on transplanting yews. I’ve taken five 6-year-old yews and moved each one to a new location, damaging the roots, and two of them look pretty bad, as it is summer here (it’s the only time of year I can do large gardening projects by myself) but I’ll keep watering them, and hopefully they’ll pull through.

  7. Hello,
    I wonder if anybody have experience in dividing one yew plant for two parts? I wish I can do that with my yew. I am planning to transplant it. So, will be nice to have it split for two plants.
    Thank you.

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