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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 40, Issue 6 — November 2014

Preventing Death and Taxus: Review and Recommendations for Managing Taxus in the Landscape with Overview on Phytophthora cinnamomi, Soil, and Nutrition Status    (View PDF)

Matthew D. Taylor

Abstract: At least three major gardens or arboreta in the USA have experienced periods of significant decline and death of mature Taxus (yews) in the landscape. The symptoms displayed on declining plants are described as chlorosis of the needles, partial defoliation, and death of some of the branches. Eventually, the entire plant may die, but they are typically removed before reaching this stage. Information on managing mature Taxus in the landscape is limited. The objective of this article is to review the literature on Taxus cultural practices and use the information to develop best management practices for Taxus in the landscape. Soil moisture is the most critical factor for health of plants in the landscape. Saturated soils create anaerobic conditions for roots and create an environment ideal for root infection by Phytophthora cinnamomi, the major root pathogen affecting Taxus. During planting, proper site selection and well-drained soil are crucial for the longterm survival of plants. After planting, irrigation should be managed to avoid saturated soil. Management from a nutritional standpoint is poorly understood. Maintaining an appropriate pH of 6.0 to 7.0 and fertilizing plants based on soil and tissue testing is recommended. More research needs to be done to determine optimal fertilization rates and appropriate nutrient concentration in tissue and in soil. When plants become symptomatic, soil should be tested for P. cinnamomi. If the fungus is present, appropriate chemical controls should be used.

Keywords: Manganese; Phytophthora cinnamomi; Plant Nutrition; Root Rot; Taxus; Water Management; Yew; Zinc.

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