Common yew is known as a wonderful hedge conifer.
Yew facts for you
Name – Taxus
Family – Taxaceae
Type – conifer
Height – up to 50 feet (16 meters)
Exposure – full sun to shade
Soil – ordinary, well drained
Foliage – evergreen
Its evergreen foliage is very appealing since it is very dense and sprigs are intricately shaped.
How to plant yew
Common yew is a conifer usually planted as part of a hedge, and is often set up at the beginning of fall, but it can also be planted until March or April as long as it doesn’t freeze.
As a standalone, this tree can grow quite large, so check upon planting that it has enough space to spread out.
- Common yew loves locations with a rather high exposure to sunlight, but does well in light shade, too.
- Yew likes well drained soil.
- When part of a hedge, keep a distance of 32 inches (80 cm) between yew plants.
After having planted your yew, watering is needed on a regular basis for 2 years to facilitate root development and settling in.
If not pruned, your common yew can grow over 65 feet (20 meters) tall for the tallest species.
For yew hedges, select the pruning height you are comfortable with as well as the thickness.
- Pruning the yew is best at the end of summer or at the beginning of spring.
- A single heavy pruning end of August is enough to keep growth under control.
Spring pruning is usually associated to rising sap and tends to accelerate the yew’s growth. Since yew is a rather slow-growing tree, this solution is often preferred when starting the hedge off.
Yew is one of the few trees that supports hat-racking. This practice is more harmful than proper regular pruning, but for some species it can help shrink a hedge that has grown too large.
Watering yew trees
Yew isn’t a very demanding tree in terms of watering, but does deserve some attention, especially at the beginning.
- Water regularly after planting for the first 2 years.
- Water after that in case of prolonged dry spell and only it you feel your yew tree has trouble coping.
Diseases and parasites that attack yew tree
Yew is a tree that resists mots diseases and fungus quite well, and its lifespan can exceed several hundreds of years.
- If a few branches turn brown and die off, it’s best to eliminate them and burn the waste every time.
All there is to know about yew
Ideal for persons who are passionate about topiary, it lends itself wonderfully to shaping. It’s perfect for cloud pruning.
Both its longevity and hardiness make it an interesting alternative to boxwood which is more vulnerable to disease.
It’s also reputed to be an excellent wind-breaker ready to resist gales of any power – and block out inquisitive neighbors, too.
Take note, though, that yew is a poisonous plant: its berries are absolutely not edible and all parts of the tree are toxic to some degree.
Smart tip about yew
When part of a hedge, think well about how high you want it to grow so that you can determine the planting distance of your yew accordingly! Keep a spacing of about 32 inches (80 cm) to 3 feet (1 meter) for the usual 6-foot (1.80 m) hedge.
Yew on social media
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Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Yew berry (also on social media) by IMS68 under Pixabay license
Yew hedge by Andrew Martin under Pixabay license
Topiary trimming yew by Ronald Porter under Pixabay license
Dreamy yew shrub by Matt Brown under © CC BY 2.0