The Yew: The Top Ten FAQs

The Yew

The Yew is a popular topic. The top ten FAQs are:

Is the Yew difficult to grow and maintain?

The Yew has a reputation for being difficult. This is utterly unwarranted. Like Box, it is recognised as easy to grow and maintain.

Is The Yew a good hedge for wildlife?

Any hedge will offer a home to selected varieties of birds and its undergrowth will provide sanctuary for insects and small garden mammals.
It also has the converse advantage of being disliked by herbivorous wildlife including rabbits and deer.

Is The Yew suitable for topiary?

Yes. It makes an excellent topiary hedging plant. Novices should, perhaps, practice on faster growing – and cheaper – Privet or Box.

Is The Yew suitable for a front garden hedge?

Yes, of course. It has great curb appeal.

I want my hedge to serve as a barrier?

Because The Yew forms a dense, thick hedge, it works extremely well as an effective barrier to sound, prying eyes and unwelcome visitors,

Can I grow it in containers?

Yes. When planted with good drainage and given proper care, it will thrive as either a specimen tree left to grow as it will or clipped to create formal topiary.

Is it fussy about light and shade?

It will be happy in full sun and in light and partial shade.

What about wet and dry conditions?

It has a fair degree of drought tolerance but does not like truly damp conditions. If your garden is on the wet side, choose Hornbeam or Cherry Laurel instead.

When should I prune?

If you are on a low-maintenance regime, trim in late August. Hard pruning, if required, is best done in spring. For more complex topiary, trim in June and/or Late August.

Can it be grown as edging?

Perhaps surprisingly, yes!