Dead spots in yews
It sounds like you might have a fungal disease. Yews (Taxus species) are susceptable to several fungal diseases diseases, especially in wet, heavy clay soils. Your local university extenion service may be able to diagnose the disease if you give them plant tissue to work with. Regardless of the diagnosis, the treatment for fungal diseases will be similar. Remove dead or dying plants, improve soil drainage, apply ammonium sulfate to alkaline soils to lower the pH.
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