In our popular culture, the yew may play second fiddle to the oak, but when it comes to hedging, the yew stands supreme. It is the hedging plant. Perhaps the only truly native shrub, yew produces a handsome, longstanding screen, providing full privacy with a soft green backdrop. It is slower growing than other conifers, unless copiously watered in which case assume 25cm per annum when established. However, patience will be rewarded with an easily managed tight (and exceptionally robust) garden hedge – it can survive even the most severe pruning.
Yew trees, also known as Taxus Baccata, are recognisable by their small, straight pointed needles in dark green. They are native to the UK, and have long been a popular choice for hedging due to their attractive foliage and ability to thrive in most conditions.
Why choose Yew Hedges?
They offer great privacy
They’re low maintenance and thrive on most sites
They support local wildlife
They are versatile
They are well-known for living long lives
Need to know how many plants?
Enter the length of your proposed hedge in metres below and the number of plants we recommend will appear.
Yew Hedges FAQs
Are Yew hedges difficult to grow and maintain?
In short, no. Like a Box hedge they are easy to grow and maintain with the right care.
Are Yew hedges a good hedge for wildlife?
All hedges are great for wildlife! Yew Hedges also have the advantage of being disliked by herbivorous wildlife such as rabbits and deer, so you won’t find your hedge being used as a snack.
Is The Yew suitable for topiary?
Yew Hedges are an excellent choice for topiary and are popular with the pros.
Is The Yew suitable for a front garden hedge?
Box, Yew and Privet hedges are all traditional and popular choices for front gardens. The Yew hedge has great curb appeal and is a great choice for creating privacy or a backdrop for flowers.
Is it suitable as a barrier?
Yes. As the Yew Hedge forms a dense, thick hedge, it works well as a barrier for sound and prying eyes.
Can I grow it in containers?
Yes! When planted with good drainage and given proper care, The Yew will thrive as a specimen tree left to grow or clipped to create formal topiary.
Do I need to consider light and shade when planting my Yew Hedge?
Yes! The Yew will be happiest in full sun, in light and partial shade.
Does The Yew prefer wet or dry conditions?
The Yew is a fairly tolerant hedge when it comes to drought (responding well to irrigation in summer months) but doesn’t thrive well in very damp conditions. If you have a garden that gets wet and waterlogged, we suggest choosing Hornbeam instead.
When should I prune my Yew Hedge?
Your regime will influence when you prune. Low-maintenance trimming is best done in August and hard pruning (if required) in Spring. If you have complex topiary, trim in June and/or late August.
Foliage Type: Evergreen Hardiness: ✯✯✯✯✯ Ease of maintenance: ✯✯✯✯✯ Drought Resistance: ✯✯✯✯✯ Soil type: Acid or Alkaline Wet/Dry: Dry Preferred situation: Sun or Shade Height: Up to 10m Growth Rate: Slow
Yew Hedge – more information (Taxus Baccata)
Yew, though, will not tolerate waterlogging – its roots are liable to rot if there is poor drainage – but, other than this, it will thrive in most soils (even shallow chalk) and in sun or shade. In really deep shade, the foliage may be less dense.
It is found in the wild all the way up to Molde in southern Norway and in gardens further north. A further clue to its hardiness is its longevity – Taxus baccata is Europe’s longest living plant with several specimens considered to be at least 2,000 years old. When ancient yews split under their own weight, the exposed wood remains immune to disease.
Soil and Situation: Any well-drained soil, sun or shade.
Maintenance:Clip in late summer. Once the desired height has been achieved, prune annually to maintain
Versatility: For the gardener, the yew has but one job (two if you include a specimen tree) – to provide the raw material for the finest possible hedge.
And Finally: Yew is the wood of choice for longbows. Once a stave has been fashioned, it is strung with the heartwood on the inside of the bow and the sapwood on the outside – this makes the bow phenomenally strong as heartwood resists compression while sapwood resists stretching. So, while we may owe our navy to the oak, for centuries the army relied on the yew.