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Why Are Your American Yews Drooping? 5 Reasons (And Fixes!)

Why Are Your American Yews Drooping? 5 Reasons (And Fixes!)

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Willie Moore
Latest posts by Willie Moore (see all)

The American Yews are some of the hardiest yews if you grow them in the right conditions. One of the rare problems you could encounter when growing these plants is drooping.

Causes of American Yews drooping include overwatering, underwatering, excessive heat, incorrect soil pH, or insect infestation. Solutions may involve adjusting your watering routine, mulching, maintaining the ideal soil pH levels, and using organic pest control methods.

In this article, I’ll discuss why your American Yews are drooping. I’ll also explain how to fix these problems for your American Yews to flourish. Here we go. 

1. Underwatering Makes American Yews Droop

Drooping is a sign that the plant is in some form of distress. One of the reasons could be a lack of sufficient water. 

Water makes the plant cells swell, giving them the rigidity that helps hold the entire plant upright. 

Therefore, insufficient water in American Yews could stress the plant leading to drooping. American Yews prefer constantly moist and cool soil. The soil should, however, not be waterlogged (source). 

If the problem persists, the leaves of your American Yews could wilt and dry off, and the plant could eventually die.

How To Fix

It’s best to water the American Yews deeply, especially during summer or spring. Hot temperatures make the soil moisture evaporate quickly before your plant can absorb enough. Frequently underwatering your American Yews can cause drooping.

Before watering the American Yews deeply, aerate the soil by poking holes in the soil’s surface. The holes enable water and oxygen to penetrate the roots of the plants quickly to start reviving them. 

After watering your American Yews deeply, water them once a week until they appear better hydrated and the branches become perky.

2. Overwatering Can Damage the American Yew’s Roots

Interestingly, too much water can also cause your American Yews to droop. Overwatering can lead to waterlogged soil, preventing the plant’s roots from getting sufficient oxygen. In addition, other gases that negatively affect root growth accumulate around the plant’s roots (source).

In other words, overwatering can reduce the plants’ oxygen, moisture, and nutrient uptake, thus leading to problems like drooping. 

If overwatering goes unchecked, it could lead to root rot and the plant’s eventual death.

How To Fix

It’s best to stop watering the plants immediately. Wait until the topsoil is dry before watering again.

Avoid watering the American Yews during the rainy season, as the rainwater is sufficient for the plant to thrive. Also, avoid watering the American Yews during winter as the plants don’t require much water.  

3. Excessive Heat Can Dehydrate American Yews

If your American Yews are drooping, it could be due to too much heat. 

The American Yews are native to parts of North America and are, therefore, shade-loving species. They thrive in cooler conditions and cool soils. These plants are not tolerant to full sun or heat. They prefer partial shade with little amounts of direct sunshine. 

Too much heat could stress your American Yews, and they could start showing their displeasure by drooping. The most likely time for your American Yews to droop is during summer when the sun is too bright and the temperatures are high.

How To Fix

Apply a thick layer of mulch around the plants. Mulch is excellent for landscaping plants and garden plants due to the following reasons:

  • During hot weather, mulch forms a protective ground cover that helps to regulate the soil temperatures. It thus keeps the soil and the roots of the plants cooler making your plant more resilient to the heat (source).
  • In addition, mulch can help your American Yews to retain water by slowing down water evaporation from the roots. As a result, the plant gradually recovers from drooping. 

4. Incorrect Soil pH Can Affect Nutrient Absorption

Another reason your American Yews are drooping is the incorrect soil pH. 

Soil pH determines the soil’s acidity or alkalinity. Every plant, including the American Yews, prefers a specific soil pH level to thrive. Soil pH also affects the amounts of nutrients accessible to plants (source). 

For instance, your American Yews are acid-loving plants. They flourish in acidic soils with lower pH levels between 5.0 and 7.0.

The soil’s pH levels around your American Yews can increase or decrease over time due to issues, including the following:

  • Too much rainwater moving through the ground rapidly can lower the soil’s acidity levels.
  • Soil erosion by wind or water can raise the soil’s acidity levels. 
  • The use of fertilizers can reduce or increase the soil’s acidity.

When the soil’s pH levels become too alkaline or too acidic, your American Yews won’t be able to absorb the nutrients they need to thrive. As a result, their shoots will exhibit symptoms of nutrient deficiency, including drooping.

How To Fix

As discussed, American Yews are acid-loving plants. Therefore, they need to be fed with an acidic fertilizer at least once a year. You can also improve the soil pH by applying an acidic fertilizer to the soil around the roots of the plant. 

I recommend the FoxFarm Happy Frog Acid Loving Plants Fertilizer (link to Amazon). This acidic fertilizer helps to feed the plants with the nutrients they need. It also gradually restores the ideal soil acidity for your American Yews. 

This acidic fertilizer comes in the form of pellets, allowing the slow release of nutrients. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying the pellets to your American Yews for the best results.

5. Insect Infestation Can Affect Your American Yews

Your American Yews could be drooping because of infestation by insects. Sometimes, these tiny creatures can attack the underside of the leaves and gradually suck the sap from them, making them droop, limp, or appear lifeless. 

If the insects go unchecked, they could eventually cause irreversible damage to your American Yews. 

How To Fix

Spray your American Yews with a safe, organic pest control solution, such as Bonide Captain Jack’s Neem Oil Ready-To-Use 3-in-1 Insecticide (link to Amazon).

This product is a bug killer, insecticide, miticide, and fungicide. It is easy to use and kills mildew, flies, and mites that attack your American Yews and other plants. 


If you American Yews are drooping, there is always an underlying issue. 

The problem can be water-related, such as overwatering or underwatering. It can also be due to too much heat sapping the energy out of the plant or incorrect soil pH preventing your plant from absorbing essential nutrients from the soil.

Knowing what to look for when your American Yews droop and the signs pinpointing a specific problem is crucial. You should then assess the situation and take some of the steps outlined above. If the drooping persists or worsens, it’s best to seek professional help.

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