Collecting Pacific Yew

RKatzin

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I have a lot of Yew, I've made that known pretty well. I have done a lot of reading of suggested sites etc. Lots of good info, but not really Yew specific. I have learned a lot about collecting in general, most importantly that not all trees are collectable. At least of the species I was reading on.
I would greatly appreciate hearing from folks who have knowledge of Yew specifically.
Two main questions being, exactly when is best time to collect and how to determine if a tree is collectable.
Please, and thank you barely express my gratitude.
 

0soyoung

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RKatzin

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Thanks for the reply, but not much help there. Taking a landscape tree is a whole world of difference from plucking one off the side of a mountain. I have the Nick Lentz book and it's all about the his wild and he encourages the reader to explore their wild and write their own book. Your general advice is pretty much my line on it, too. Guess I'd like to hear from someone who's been up on the hill in the dead of winter. Hardly ever freezes solid, but sat under four to five feet of snow most of the collection window last year. I'd like to get in and out before it builds up this year. By the time it is gone and I can get up there it's too late, I think. See the window? I can get up there, but not my truck.
 

Paulpash

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End of April / Early May in the UK - basically when you just see the buds pushing forward the first few needles. Unlike most conifers they are OK with washing roots to get rid of poor soil. They have fleshy roots and their systems are often 'tiered' where you'll see double or triple decker roots systems - deciding which one to retain can be problematic at times. A reciprocal saw is a good tool to have in this situation.
 

ghues

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I've only collected one, a young small/medium sized one that was on the cutbank of a logging road in the spring of 2015 (some snow patches were still on parts of the road), it came up easy with my fire shovel, wrapped it with my rain gear and put it into pumice when Ingot it home.....it didn't miss a beat....three years in and I have no idea where to go with it. I did explore much larger ones but they were well adhered to cracks in rocks.
Special note.....I worked with a local First Nations community that wanted small branches to make buttons for ceremonial cloaks/outer wear and they also used it as a tea that many of the elders liked.
 

RKatzin

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Thanks for the replies. I will be waiting till spring then. Gives me some time to do more prep work. I'll let you know how it goes.
 

PiñonJ

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I have been thinking of trying, have you collected in fall?
I did so for the first time two weeks ago. Got a scrub oak and a White Fir. The fir seems happy, so far. Jury's still out on the oak, but the roots weren't as good as the fir's. I can't give you any first-hand knowledge on Yews.
 

petegreg

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I've got the same problem...dilemma/decisions...
This one is one of volunteers growing in my mother's garded. They have been moved several times so the root system is incredibly compact. This one was chopped hard leaving just a few low branches last fall/spring. In the summer it was a green ball again... So I did some branch reduction.
Today I took a spade and found just a few roots growing down anchoring the tree and I cut them. Not sure whether let it in place for one more year or collect it in spring.
taxus L 2017 2.jpg

The same story about this lonicera clump. But this one will be pot-ready next spring, I presume.
lonicera clump 2017 2.jpg
 
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I've only collected one, a young small/medium sized one that was on the cutbank of a logging road in the spring of 2015 (some snow patches were still on parts of the road), it came up easy with my fire shovel, wrapped it with my rain gear and put it into pumice when Ingot it home.....it didn't miss a beat....three years in and I have no idea where to go with it. I did explore much larger ones but they were well adhered to cracks in rocks.
Special note.....I worked with a local First Nations community that wanted small branches to make buttons for ceremonial cloaks/outer wear and they also used it as a tea that many of the elders liked.
Wait. Did I read that right?
Tea? Yes is very toxic. :0
 

RKatzin

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Ignorance is intimidating and confining.
There are two ways of dealing with it:
  1. be frozen in fear of what might happen
  2. boldly go where you haven't before and see what happens
Be brave, @petegreg.
Be brave, @RKatzin.

:)
This ain't my first rodeo! I mean I've killed more than my share Yew trees and I'm sure I will kill a few more before the day is done. I lost a few nice ones years back and it's taken me some time to get back on that horse, but here I am ready to head up the hill again. Just gathering intel.
BTW, I have eaten lots of Yew berries. They are quite good, if a bit gelatinous. Only the seeds are toxic to man and beasts. Some critters are browsing the Yew on a regular basis, deer and/or elk I believe.
 
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This ain't my first rodeo! I mean I've killed more than my share Yew trees and I'm sure I will kill a few more before the day is done. I lost a few nice ones years back and it's taken me some time to get back on that horse, but here I am ready to head up the hill again. Just gathering intel.
BTW, I have eaten lots of Yew berries. They are quite good, if a bit gelatinous. Only the seeds are toxic to man and beasts. Some critters are browsing the Yew on a regular basis, deer and/or elk I believe.
The berries are fine. The seeds will kill you. Wild animals can browse it but not domestic animals lol go figure.
 

ghues

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@Bavarian Raven , yes indeed as you stated in your last post.......The Yew I collected (along with many I observed in the area) were shaped into balls by the continuous grazing of Roosevelt Elk.
Also of note, in the early 70's the pacific yew was found to contain Paclitaxel which got approved for medical use in 1993 to treat various cancers.
 
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@Bavarian Raven , yes indeed as you stated in your last post.......The Yew I collected (along with many I observed in the area) were shaped into balls by the continuous grazing of Roosevelt Elk.
Also of note, in the early 70's the pacific yew was found to contain Paclitaxel which got approved for medical use in 1993 to treat various cancers.
I know about the cancer treatment link. My dads cancer medicine (used to hopefully slow down the cancers growth :/ ) contains that chemical. Ironic. Too much will kill you a tiny bit might save you. o_O
 
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