Save wildlife, avoid planting yews

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(KMVT/KSVT) - It's feeling more like spring and some of you may be planning gardening projects.

To help protect wildlife and pets, Idaho Fish and Game recommends that you refrain from planting yews.

If you already have it in your yard, officials suggest replacing them, especially where wildlife can access them.

The Japanese yew remains a popular ornamental plant in the state, but many wildlife died from eating the plant this past winter. That includes at least 30 elk and 50 pronghorn.

"We could go for years without having bad winters push animals down to lower elevation," said Toby Boudreau, "People buy the plants because they're pretty and they look nice in their yard. Most people don't realize that Japanese yew or any of the yews actually, it's poisonous."

Officials recommend the following list of non-toxic alternatives:

Idaho native evergreens that are non-toxic and can tolerate some shade:

Western swordfern (Polystichum munitum)
Oregon boxleaf (Pachystima myrsinites)
Curl-leaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
Russet buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis)
Oakleaf sumac (Rhus trilobata)
Oregon grape-holly (Berberis aquifolium, Mahonia aquifolium)

Idaho native shrubs that tolerate some shade, but are not evergreen:

Syringa (Philadelphus lewisii)
Woods rose (Rosa woodsii)
Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus)
Oceanspray (Holodiscus discolor)
Mallow ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus)
Rocky mountain maple (Acer glabrum)
Golden currant (Ribes aureum)
Red flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum)
Common snowberry (Symphoricarpus albus)
Red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Highbush cranberry/mooseberry (Viburnum edule)
Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia, A. utahensis)
Twinberry honeysuckle (Lonicera involucrata)
Mountain ash (Sorbus scopulina)
Mountain huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum)

Non-native evergreen shrubs that tolerate some shade:

Evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum)
False cypress (Chamaecyparis spp.)
Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
Dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca 'Conica’)

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