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Are Japanese Yews Acid Loving Plants?

Are Japanese Yews Acid Loving Plants?

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Willie Moore
Latest posts by Willie Moore (see all)

Japanese yews are acid-loving plants as they thrive in slightly acidic soil with pH levels of 5.5 to 6.5. Acid-loving plants are plants that prefer soils with a pH below 7 (acidic soils). Also, Japanese yews like acidic fertilizers as they maintain the soil’s acidity levels so the plants flourish.

In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss more on whether Japanese yews like acidic fertilizer and explain Soil pH. I’ll also explain what acidic fertilizer is, the ideal time to feed Japanese yews with an acidic fertilizer, and the best acidic fertilizer for these yews. Here we go. 

Do Yews Like Acidic Fertilizer?

Japanese yews need feeding with fertilizer to give them extra nutrients for proper growth. These yews prefer an acidic fertilizer because it contains chemicals or organic matter that helps maintain the soil’s acidity. Thus, your Japanese yews flourish because they are acid-loving plants.

What Is Soil pH?

The initials pH stand for the power of Hydrogen. pH measures the hydrogen ion concentration in the soil. It determines the soil’s alkalinity or acidity (source). Soil pH matters to plants because every plant prefers a specific pH to thrive; some thrive in lower pH soil, while others thrive in higher pH soils. 

The alkalinity or acidity of the soil is measured using pH units with a scale running from 0 to 14. The lower the pH units, the higher the acidity of the soil, whereas the higher the pH units, the lower the soil’s acidity (source).

Below is a clear explanation of soil pH value:

  • Alkaline soils: pH above 7.5
  • Neutral soils: pH 6.5 to 7.5
  • Slightly acidic soils: pH 5.5 to 6.5
  • Strongly acidic soils: pH below 5.5 

So, if you want your Japanese yews to live for years, providing well-drained and slightly acidic soil is recommended. Slightly acidic soil has pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5, as explained above.

What Are Acidic Fertilizers?

Acidic fertilizers are the type of fertilizers that are ideal for nourishing acid-loving plants such as Japanese yews.

As I mentioned earlier, acid-loving plants prefer soil with a pH below 7 (acidic soil). Acidic fertilizers also contain chemicals or organic matter that help maintain the soil’s acidity levels for the benefit of acid-loving plants. 

Below are other benefits of acidic fertilizers on Japanese yews:

  • The fertilizer provides the plant with nutrients for faster growth.
  • Nature can deplete soil fertility; the fertilizer restores the soil’s fertility for the plants to thrive.
  • The fertilizer also stimulates the healthy development of Japanese yews, thus improving their appearance and color. 

The Ideal Time To Feed Japanese Yews With Acidic Fertilizer

Like most evergreen plants, Japanese yews are not heavy feeders, especially if you plant them in rich soil. However, they can benefit from fertilizing every now and then.

Here’s when to feed in-ground Japanese yews:

  • Feed the plants a year after planting. If you use natural acidic fertilizer, such as peat moss, compost, or manure, when planting your Japanese yews, the fertilizer will get depleted after one year. It’s, therefore, best to feed the plants in spring, one year after planting, to give them additional nutrients and maintain the soil’s acidity. 
  • Feed the plants each spring during their establishment years. As your Japanese yews continue to establish themselves, it’s best to feed them every spring. This applies to plants under 15 years.
  • Feed older Japanese yews every other year. Older Japanese yews don’t require heavy feeding. If the plant is over 15 years old, you can feed it every other year.

Caveat: Yews Growing in Containers Need More Feeding

It’s good to note that soil in containers loses nutrients and acidity faster than soil on the ground. So, if you are growing Japanese yews in containers, it’s best to feed them at the beginning of spring to keep them going for the year. Fertilizing them in late fall is also essential to keep them thriving in winter. 

The Best Acidic Fertilizers for Japanese Yews

Ammonium and sulfur-based fertilizers are some of the best acidic fertilizers to use on Japanese yews. Apart from feeding the plant, these fertilizers help to acidify the soil for the benefit of your plants.

In addition, since Japanese yews grow into trees or shrubs, the acidic fertilizer should contain the primary macronutrients; Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (N-P-K) (source). These nutrients are essential for the plant’s optimal growth.

Below is the work of these primary macronutrients:

  • Nitrogen (N): It gives the plant a nice green color and helps it grow new stems and leaves. 
  • Phosphorous (P): It helps the plant fight diseases, form new roots, and make flowers, fruits, and seeds. 
  • Potassium (K): It keeps the roots healthy, aids fruits and flowers, and helps plants tolerate stress such as frost and drought. 

The best acid fertilizers for Japanese yews are in the form of pellets or spikes. These are great as they are slow-release fertilizers that promote plants’ healthy and steady growth.

Below are some of the best acid fertilizers for your Japanese yews:

  • Natural Acid Mix Fertilizer (link to Amazon): This is a natural, acidic, slow-release fertilizer in the form of pellets. Its percentage of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (N-P-K) is 4-3-6. You simply scatter it at the plants’ base and then water the plants. It’s blended especially for acid-loving plants. 
  • Fertilizer Spikes (link to Amazon): This is a slow-release, acid fertilizer in the form of spikes. Its N-P-K percentages are 9-8-7. The fertilizer is easy to use; you just stick the spikes in the plant’s roots for continuous nourishment. This fertilizer is excellent for acid-loving plants. 


Japanese yews are beautiful landscaping plants that are easy to care for and maintain. They are acid-loving plants as they thrive in well-drained soils with a pH below 7 (acidic soils). If you grow them in the right conditions, they can become huge in height and diameter.

Since the acidity levels of soil changes over time, it’s best to feed your yews with an acidic fertilizer once or twice a year, depending on their age. The acidic fertilizer nourishes the plants and manages the soil’s acidity levels for the benefit of your Japanese yews.

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