Yew is the great British garden hedge but you don’t need to live in a grand country house to plant one. Follow the simple guidelines for the Autumn Hedge Planting of Yew and any garden can enjoy its majesty…
Follow the basic planting instructions. Additionally:
1. Replace some of the soil in the trench or hole and firm
2. Gently ease the plant out of its container, tease out the roots and place in its new home, checking that it is at the correct depth. To paraphrase the golden rule of carpentry: check twice, bury once
3. Fill the remaining space with the soil, ensuring the Yew remains straight and at the right depth
4. Once the immediate area in the trench or hole is filled, firm down well. Holding the plant while doing this will prevent it from sinking or moving from the vertical. This can be done on your own, but a second pair of hands makes it easier
5. Water well
6. When applying the mulch, leave a 7 cm exclusion zone around the stem to protect it from rotting. Chipped bark is ideal, though well-rotted compost and/or manure is better if you are growing on improved soil
Remember: Yew must NEVER be planted too deep as Yew bark below ground will almost certainly rot and, in time, take the rest of the plant with it. When Yew is placed in its new home, its crown MUST be level with the ground – and no lower.
Soil: Yew s not fussed by a soil’s pH but it must have good drainage (it will even thrive in shallow chalk). Yew cannot tolerate waterlogging and its roots are prone to rot If you are gardening on heavy clay, dig in plenty of organic material and grit across the entire area (not just the planting hole) or go for Hornbeam instead.
Aspect: Sun or shade – in deep shade the foliage may be less dense.
Our recommendation, based on many years’ experience, is that Yew should be planted two to three evenly spaced plants per metre. Three per metre will, of course, produce a denser hedge more quickly but two per metre will still provide a hedge to be proud of – Yew’s reputation as a slow grower is much exaggerated. Once established, Yew will put on around 30cm a year – providing you don’t cut its growing tip.