No Ban For Yew: Idaho State Department Of Agriculture Passes On Recommending Rule Change

Aug 30, 2017

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture is passing on recommending a rule banning toxic yew plants for the Legislature to mull over.
Credit Tatters / Flickr Creative Commons

A popular but toxic landscaping plant blamed for more than a hundred wildlife deaths over the last two winters isn’t going to be listed as a noxious weed.

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture finished its negotiated-rulemaking process and will pass on creating a rule banning yew plants for the Legislature to review.

The Boise resident who pushed for the ban on the popular backyard plants, Angela Rossmann, says she wasn't surprised by the decision because controversy surrounded the plant after this winter. Rossmann isn't sure whether her next step in trying to get the toxic plant banned will focus on the legislature or the judiciary.

The state agriculture department hosted four meetings during the rulemaking process. Rossmann and wildlife enthusiasts rallied against the landscaping industry and county weed superintendents. The animal deaths in the colder months and the rulemaking process itself got the word out about the poisonous qualities of the evergreens which are favorites in yards and public spaces. The landscaping industry pushed for education over a ban.

Yew poisoning was cited as the cause of death for nearly 30 elk, 50 pronghorn and numerous deer last winter as more animals than usual wandered out of the hills and into yards in search of food due to the severe winter.

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