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Q.Dead Branches in Center of Evergreen Bushes

Zone 63017 | Matthew Vincent added on September 4, 2017 | Answered

I don’t see the pdf I uploaded containing the images. This is an update with the actual pictures. The branches in a couple of my evergreen bushes are seemingly dead on the interior of the bush but it looks good on the outside. Is there a rememdy to this? The side view (where you can see the deck) is from when I trimmed them with my electric hedge clippers last summer (trying to keep the walkway from the house to the deck clear).

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Answered on September 5, 2017

When evergreens are only trimmed with hedge shears, dense exterior foliage develops but the interior is so shaded that it dies back. It is hard to tell but you appear to have yews (Taxus). The dead branches will have to be removed and the exterior growth needs thinning so some sunlight can penetrate. Eventually the yew will fill in the holes. If you have junipers, new growth does not fill in dead areas. I suggest you use bypass pruners every mid to late June to keep the shrubs the size you want and to selectively remove small branches on top to let light through. Use the hedge shears once or twice during the growing season if you don't like the new growth. Do not use hedge shears for pruning - cutting into woody growth. Inevitably, you'll go too far and remove too much. More info here: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/yew/pruning-yew-shrubs.htm

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