Friday, March 18, 2011

Shrubby Yew

Taken from the Monrovia website and I also purchased two of these plants from this same company. The current two plants I have in the ground are a year old at about a foot and a half.

Here's a plant that makes a statement and has history....the Shrubby Yew. El Presidio had an older tree on the property that died during that nasty snow storm event several years ago.  When I moved onto the property, this tree stood dry and neglected.  It made me sad because I loved the look of this plant.  You won't see it as much in Tucson because I think it's a very slow growing plant and people are not patient.  However, it has done well for me and I have planted two as a way to frame the entrance to one of the buildings.  They are located in part shade and will grow, I'm hoping, to reach a height of 15 feet.  They are tall and narrow plants with a unique leaf structure.  Several of these mature plants grow in my neighborhood and look absolutely wonderful.  They definitely add structure and focus to an entrance.  Here is some background information taken from the Monrovia website....
"Plant type: Tree
Garden styles: Asian/Zen, Tropical
Deciduous/evergreen: Evergreen
Cold hardiness zones: 7 - 11
Light needs: Partial to full sun
Sunset climate zones: 4 - 9, 12 - 24
Water Needs: Needs regular watering - weekly, or more often in extreme heat.
Average landscape size: Slow grower to 15 to 20 ft. tall, 6 to 8 ft. wide, larger with age.
Growth rate: Slow
Growth habit: Pyramidal
Special features: Deer Resistant, Improved Pest and Disease Resistance, Waterwise
Landscape uses: Container, Espalier, Firescaping/Fire Wise, Houseplant, Seacoast Exposure, Specimen, Windbreak, Woodland Garden
Problem/solution: Deer Resistant
Blooms: Does not flower.

Attractive pyramidal garden or patio tree takes to shearing well to become an effective accent, screen or clipped hedge. This versatile plant will also thrive in tubs or as a topiary. Evergreen.
Retailers for this plant:
Mesquite Valley, Tucson at Pantano and Speedway
Care Information

Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring. For a tidy, neat appearance, shear annually to shape.
Design Ideas

With its dense, upright form, this Podocarpus can become a columnar corner plant. Line them up, with spaces in between, as a repeating element behind traditional perennial borders. Plant as a solid hedge for a manicured privacy screen along property lines and side yards. In warm-winter climates, it makes a great evergreen background that can be shaped to your needs. Excellent choice for front yards needing separation between multistory buildings.


This is a valuable plant native to Japan and southern China.This genus was conferred by French botanist Charles L'Hertier de Brutelle, 1746-1800, either from specimens provided by Thunberg from Japan or more likely those sent west by French Catholic missionaries in China. The species was described but misclassified by Carl Thunberg in the 18th century as a yew under Taxus macrophylla. It also went by P. longifolia for awhile. Scots botanist David Don, 1799-1841 accurately classified the plants as P. macrophyllus to describe its notably long leaf shape.

The tree is grown in China for its religious symbolism related to its appearance which suggests the lohans, followers of Buddha, often depicted on temple walls. Therefore aged specimens of this "lohan pine" tree are frequently found on temple grounds."


I purchase a lot of my plants from Monrovia and their products have a great record of success in our gardens.  While their plants may be a couple dollars more, it's worth the price because the success rates from their plants have been at around 85 percent at El Presidio compared to the 50 percent from other places.

This concludes the tree series for Tucson this year. There are certainly more trees out there like the Ironwood or the Arizona Sycamore.  I have observed them in nature and they both are great native trees. In fact my high school is named after the Ironwood because we have a lot of them on our grounds. Of course, there is the Live Oak, but I've already done a post on this tree.    After hours of putting these writings together, it's nice to take a break and do something creative again.  I hope this has been helpful for my desert gardening friends.  The next post will be on a lecture I recently attended with Amy Stewart from her "Wicked Plants" book.  Lunch was served and a lecture to be had.  She's really a nice person and it was a fun day.  We'll take a brief break from the plants for the Tucson plant series.  All of this has to be posted now because people are shopping for plants and there is very little information out there for my Tucson gardening friends trying to figure out what to put in their gardens.  I was frustrated last year because I didn't have the information there for me. I am given money every month to go shopping for plants and other garden items while most people have to be frugal with their cash and can't experiment. So I try to help where I can. We need to know what will work and what won't in the Old Pueblo.  I'll write this now and I'll write it again.  There is a lot of info out there for Phoenix gardeners, but Tucson and Phoenix are very different places.  What works in Phoenix, doesn't always work in Tucson.  We are two different gardening zones.  So stay tuned for much more on gardening in Tucson during this very busy spring.....especially after the nasty frosts we've experienced. Dead plants need to be replaced and pruning must be done. More reports to follow.....

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