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Soil mix for collected yew?
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Author:  Nutcracker [ 08 Nov 2019, 18:59 ]
Post subject:  Soil mix for collected yew?

The other day I bought very cheaply a rather sad and half-dead-looking topiary ball yew from a garden centre. It seemed to have a fairly chunky trunk base under there, so I thought for £1 it was worth a go. I've cleaned it up, got rid of all the dead twiggy clutter and have left on all the sparse remaining foot-high green foliage, and I was pleased to find that there are two chunky trunks which have fused together. There is life in the thing yet as there are a few new shoots very low down on the trunk.

It was in a ridiculously large pot, and when I pulled the weeds out, I found the soil was really poor so I decided to take it out of the pot and check. Well, in the pot was 70% horrible soil with no roots in it at all, 20% surprisingly good base & thick surface roots, and 10% smaller roots, some of which were long, woody and bare and pointing straight down like spikes. I've cut those off.

It looks like it had been field grown for years and then dug out and slung in the pot, where it hasn't really made much progress. There were also some of the dreaded vine weevils, and I've had to get as much of the soil off as possible, while trying not to damage what roots were left. It's taken me hours.

So I'm going to have to basically treat it like a collected (nearly) bare-root tree. Due to the shape of the base and the interesting shape and position of the surface roots, it will need to be planted almost sideways rather than upright, and one day it could turn out pretty good. And I don't know a lot about the likes and dislikes of yews (and I've heard they can be touchy) so I'm hoping for some help as to the best substrate to plant it in at this time of year to help it at least get through the winter... Advice please!!

I'd post a photo but my phone isn't playing ball.

Author:  Dustmonkey [ 08 Nov 2019, 19:39 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soil mix for collected yew?

Hi Nutcracker, i no nout about Yews but this might get you started..

Author:  Nutcracker [ 08 Nov 2019, 19:56 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soil mix for collected yew?

Haha, I've read that already!

Author:  Cuchilo [ 08 Nov 2019, 22:05 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soil mix for collected yew?

I picked up a load of very neglected yew last year . Sawed off half the roots and put them in big pots with sanicat pink all around the root ball . Then shoved them down the allotment and left them alone . They are loving it .
I doubt i will see a nice tree in my life time but the bases are good.

Author:  john blanchard [ 08 Nov 2019, 22:43 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soil mix for collected yew?

I'd put it into a mix that is slightly more organic, or similarly slightly more moisture retentive than what I'd put a juniper into. Do you keep juniper?
The roots are fleshy so I'd give it frost protection after it's felt temperatures as low as 1 to - 1 make sure it's sturdy in the pot and don't mess with the roots ever again.

http://bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/AT%20Soil% ... Trees.html

Author:  Nutcracker [ 09 Nov 2019, 00:11 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soil mix for collected yew?

Great, thank you. It's currently sitting with dampened roots wrapped up in a plastic bag, and sitting in my hall which will be about 10 degrees overnight, and I'll tackle it in the morning. I've got no room to keep it protected from heavy frost over the winter, it will have to take its chance, fingers crossed.

Author:  Nutcracker [ 09 Nov 2019, 00:30 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soil mix for collected yew?

Forgot to mention - I've only got a couple of pots that are the right shape and size for the rootball as it is now, one is a large rectangular deepish bonsai pot, and the other is a pond basket. Which would be better?

Author:  Nutcracker [ 09 Nov 2019, 15:22 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soil mix for collected yew?

Well it's sideways in the pond basket, sanicat pink + compost + some of that Ikea pumice, chopped sphagnum and rootgrow.

Author:  Keith Hansell [ 10 Nov 2019, 00:07 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soil mix for collected yew?

Good luck with this. I have never had any success with the £1 Yews that I have bought and all a reasonable size. By the time they reach that price at my local garden nursery they are well stressed and certainly not in the best of health. As John has mentioned now leave well alone, even if you see growth starting to appear. Cutting the roots has possibly not done it any favours, as I have found to my cost in the past. Hopefully your soil mix will pull it through.

Author:  Brendan [ 10 Nov 2019, 13:25 ]
Post subject:  Re: Soil mix for collected yew?

Shade, water and patience. Mostly the latter in my experience.

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