Yew

Yew

Yew is an ornamental evergreen hedge plant widely grown in Europe and Asia.

One of the main characteristics of this plant is that it is resistant to frost and easy to cut back.

All parts of the plant, including branches and berries, contain alkaloids which are poisonous to both humans and animals. It is strong and impenetrable, and in combination with its long life span, it makes a beautiful hedge that will last for many. Yew is available with berries and without berries.

You can buy different species of Yew for growing your hedge at Hedge Plants Heijnen. We have a wide variety that we grow in our garden and deliver directly to customers. When you make an order through our website, we get the plants fresh from the ground and ship them to you.

Species

There are many different species of Yew, but they all have one thing in common-they make beautiful hedges. We have these species in our collection:

Taxus baccata-Also known as English Yew, common Yew or European Yew, Taxus baccata is the most popular species of Yew. This species is widely grown in Europe, but also extends to Africa and Asia. The evergreen plant has a classic and luxe appearance and can survive cold winters. Although Taxus baccata hedge grows slowly, it is known to make beautiful hedges and it can grow as a loner. Taxus baccata can also tolerate radical pruning; therefore, it is easy to care for the plant. Even if you cut too much, the plant will still grow.

Taxus baccata David- The slow-growing yew has tightly packed branches which grow upright, forming a neat column. This is the perfect species to use as a loner. It is also known as columnar. Its toughness, tolerance to shearing and adaptability make it a popular option for hedges, screening or foundation plantings. Most of its characteristics are similar to those of Taxus baccata

Taxus Media Hicksii and Media Hillii-The difference between these two slow-growing plants is that Hicksii is the female and Hilii is the male. This means that the latter doesn’t produce berries. Otherwise, the two plants have similar characteristics. They look like the European Yew but with only a few differences. They also grow more compact than other Yew species, and they are always evergreen and easy to maintain.

Growing Yew

Yew hedges are very popular around the world. Planted for so many years in Europe, Yew has many features and benefits that make it a great garden hedge and have contributed to its longstanding popularity.

Why you should grow a Yew Hedge

  • It has dense and evergreen foliage that creates a lasting canvas for other garden plants and provides noise reduction and privacy screening
  • It also requires low maintenance and you can maintain the shape of your hedge by pruning twice a year. If you, however, find yourself with an unkempt ewe tree hedge, it can withstand hard pruning.
  • Being a native green, the plant can create a positive impact on your environment
  • Yew hedges look amazing at any height, which means that you can use the plant in any sized garden
  • Very popular with wildlife, Yew hedges offer shelter to a number of birds. Jays, Robins, and Waxwings enjoy the delicacy of the bright red arils and Wrens usually create nests in the dense foliage
  • Unlike most root ball species, Yew root balls at any time, with the exception of the hottest months of the year
  • Yew is a long lasting plant. As a matter of fact, Yew plants that were planted hundreds of years ago are still standing in some parts of UK. You can find one of the most popular groups of Yew trees in Painswick, England. These trees were planted in the 1700s and are still standing.
  • Yew plants are also flexible when it comes to shaping. You can create formal, neat displays and can be manipulated into extraordinary curves and shapes, including cloud pruning
  • Although Yew has a slow growth rate, it will often achieve a growth rate of 20-40cm per year

When is the right time to grow a Yew hedge?

The best time to plant a Yew hedge is when the weather is cool-either in early spring or fall. This is important in ensuring that the plant doesn’t have to content with the extreme drought or heat as it tries to establish itself in the soil.

How to plant a Yew Hedge

  1. Loosen soil about 6 inches deeper than the height of the Yew clod. Doing so allows roots to spreader easily. Plant the Yew in an area with partial shade to provide the plant with medium sunlight
  2. Test the soil pH level with your home testing kit. Yews grow well in slightly alkaline, neutral or slightly acidic soil.
  3. Add 4 inches of organic compost, manure, coarse sand and leaf mold over the planting site and use a shovel to mix the ingredients with the soil. Avoiding using sphagnum peat as it holds water and causes the plant to suffer
  4. Make planting trenches about two times the size or width of the Yew clod and a bit deeper as the clod height. It is important to loosen the soil with a shovel for example.
  5. Remove the plant from the container and try to loosen the roots on edges of the clod so that they can spread easily in the soil
  6. Set the plant in the trench so that the clod rests evenly with the soil in the area. Fill the trench with soil and gently pack it to remove air pockets.
  7. Water the soil around the plant until the roots are evenly moist. Repeat this once every week or when the top three inches become dry. Once the plant has fully established, watering is rarely required until summer
  8. Apply a thin layer of mulch around the root area, but pull the mulch away from the stem

Tips

Keep the young Yew plants well watered. Once they are established, they will be able to withstand drought and harsh weather conditions. Yew plants grow well in humus-rich soil with good drainage. Fertilize the plants in spring with compost in spring

Spacing

Yew hedge plants can be very beautiful if spacing is done correctly. Depending on size, plant 2 to 3 Yew plants per meter in a single row. Stretch a string between canes to ensure that you are planting in a straight line.

Ensure that the roots are spread out well and check the spacing between the plants one more time before returning the soil around the roots.

Advice & care

  • It is important that you select the right Yew plant for your location to avoid the hassle of hacking it back when it’s overgrown. This is common in many yards.
  • Avoid pruning below the green needles
  • Remove broken, diseased and dead branches anytime
  • Trim the plant in early summer to keep the shrub in bounds and shape it
  • While Yew plants are disease and insect free, the needles may become yellow in windswept locations

Treatment of common Yew problems

Wet soils-Yews are known to yellow and die quickly in wet soils. Even a small period of wet soil can result in plant death

Armillaria root rot-This disease can attack stressed and even healthy plants. The fruiting bodies of the fungus that cause the disease are honey-colored mushrooms that grow at the base of the plant. You may want to uproot the mushroom and remove the dead trees and their roots

Dying lower branches -Lower branches may die if you don’t prune the plant in the right way. This can result in death or sparsely needled branches. To allow ample light to reach the base, it important that you keep the top of the Yew tree narrower

Pros

  • Dense evergreen foliage makes a beautiful hedge and provides the much-needed privacy
  • It’s a low maintenance plant as it only requires you to prune only twice a year. An overgrown Yew hedge can also withstand hard pruning
  • Thrives in most soils as long as there is good drainage
  • They can be grown to any height and still look great
  • They provide shelter and food for some birds such as Jays, Waxwings, and Robins
  • A yew tree hedge can live for so many years. This is the ideal plant for people who are looking to create a long-lasting hedge
  • They are flexible when it comes to shaping. You can trim them into any shape you want as long as you have the skill
  • They can survive cold winters

Cons

  • Highly poisonous to humans and animals
  • More susceptible to damage by snow at 8 to 10 ft in height
  • Not the ideal option for already shady spaces
  • Takes time to grow

Conclusion

Yew is one of the best plants you can use to grow a hedge. They can last for many years; grow so well as long as there is good drainage, and require low maintenance. Although most of their parts are poisonous to humans and animals, their bright red arils are feasted on by birds. If you are looking for high quality and affordable Yew plants, including Irish Yew tree, feel free to contact us anytime.