I installed five Japanese Yews (Podocarpus) in the fall, November, of last year here in Austin TX. I checked up on them about a month ago and everything was fine. Now the leaves are turning pale/white/dry, one is almost completely gone, and all are suffering the same condition. The other plants in the rest of the yard and nearby are fine. I ammended with organic compost when installed. They were put in correctly, watered in, given enough water (or so the new owners claim, I see no reason to doubt) they are not in full sun, nor full shade. The guys at the nursery say they have had no issues with any of the rest of the Podos that came in that shipment. The only thing I can think is maybe they do not like the rather alkaline soil from all the limestone bedrock in Austin, but they seem to do fine elsewhere in town. Maybe they are prone to root drowning due to over-watering? Will someone who is familiar with installing and caring for Japanese Yews please advise.

  • 2
    Yews are members of the Taxus family, Podocarpus is another family. A picture would help us diagnose the issue
    – kevinskio
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 19:36
  • Not helpful. There are plenty of yews that are Taxus, however mine is a Japanese Yew, a Podocarpus Macrophylla, just like it says on the receipt from the nursery where I bought it. I suspect they do better here in TX zone 8 or 9 heat than a Taxus Yew. If I had a photo it would be up, but its pretty simple, branch by branch the leaves turn pale whitish green and dry out and die. Please try and stick to answering the question in the future.
    – Zeddikus
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 5:02
  • I doubt yews can take the heat in Dallas much less Austin. I am in the Houston area and have never seen a yew here . They were my favorite when I lived in Chicago. Not so big as they get in southern England, but good. Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 0:35
  • Not an expert, but Podocarpus Macrophyllus can be found all over Austin and in every local nursery I've visited (since starting to look specifically for them). I'm suspicious this would be the case if climate were an issue. The five I planted in my yard thrived throughout this summer (in part sun).
    – chris
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 22:42

1 Answer 1


Well, I'm not familiar with 'installing and caring for Japanese Yews' outdoors. However, since the chances of anyone else on here being able to claim that experience may be vanishingly small, I offer up this piece of general horticultural knowledge:- usually, whitening of leaves indicates cold, meaning the temperatures are too low.

I note that Austin Texas is listed as USDA zone 8b, which means the average cold temperature is roughly 15-20 deg F. The link below confirms that, for preference, this tree likes temperatures of 18 deg C at night (63 deg F) and 25 deg C during the day (74 deg F). If you have had a cold snap within the last 2-3 months, that would explain the symptoms you're seeing on your trees.


You may note that the link leads to a houseplant site, and I'd like to add that, in the UK, this plant is not considered hardy outdoors, and most of the UK is Zone 8, with not too dissimilar winter temperatures from yours, though with rather more wet. In your area, in a mild winter and planted in an extremely sheltered spot with sun in winter, Podocarpus might survive outdoors quite well - but it's not guaranteed.

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