Explore the Beauty and Versatility of Yew Trees: From Evergreen Hedges to Stunning Topiary Creations

Explore the Beauty and Versatility of Yew Trees: From Evergreen Hedges to Stunning Topiary Creations

The yew tree is a popular choice for hedges and topiary due to its wide range of benefits. It is a friendly and versatile tree that can be found in many locations around the world. With its slow-growing rate and a long lifespan of up to 3,000 years, the yew has been standing tall for centuries.

One of the reasons why the yew is loved by many gardeners is its dense and round shape, making it perfect for creating beautiful and neatly trimmed hedges. Another advantage of the yew is that it produces bright red berries, which add a splash of color to its evergreen foliage. However, it is important to note that the berries and other parts of the tree are highly toxic if ingested, so caution should be exercised.

The yew tree is easy to care for, making it a popular choice for both novice and experienced gardeners. It requires minimal fertilization and only needs to be pruned once a year to maintain its shape. It is also highly tolerant to frost and can withstand harsh winter conditions, making it an ideal choice for gardens in colder climates.

Another benefit of the yew tree is its ability to attract wildlife. The dense foliage and nutritious berries provide a habitat and a source of food for many birds and small mammals. This makes the yew tree a beneficial addition to any garden wishing to support local wildlife.

In conclusion, the yew tree is an excellent choice for those looking to create a beautiful and low-maintenance hedge or topiary. Its flexible root system allows it to be planted in various locations, and its evergreen nature ensures that it provides year-round beauty. Whether you are a novice or an experienced gardener, the yew tree is a topic worth considering for your garden.

Yew Hedge Taxus – How to Plant Grow and Prune Growth Rate + Problems

Yew hedges, known by their botanical name Taxus, are a popular choice for gardeners who want an evergreen hedge with a classic, elegant look. These hedges can grow in various climates and soil conditions, making them a versatile choice for many gardeners. Plus, yew hedges are easily shaped into various topiary forms, such as cones or spirals, adding a touch of artistry to any landscape.

If you’re considering growing a yew hedge, there are several important factors to keep in mind. Yews are slow-growing trees that require minimal maintenance. They can tolerate shade, but they prefer a sunny or partially sunny location. Yew hedges can be planted at any time of the year, but it is best to avoid planting during periods of extreme heat or cold.

To plant a yew hedge, prepare the planting hole by digging it twice as wide as the root ball and at the same depth. It is important to loosen the soil in the bottom of the hole to encourage root growth. Place the yew tree in the hole and backfill with soil, firming it gently around the roots. Water thoroughly after planting and keep the soil moist until the tree establishes itself.

Yew hedges have a slow growth rate, typically around 10-15 centimeters per year. This makes them an excellent choice for gardeners who want a neatly trimmed hedge that doesn’t require constant pruning. Yew hedges can be pruned in early spring or late summer to maintain their desired shape and size.

Yew trees are known for their dense foliage and attractive, dark green color. They also produce small red berries, but these are toxic and should not be consumed. Yews have a wide range of varieties, including some that have been specifically bred for hedge purposes. Popular varieties include Hicksii, Wardii, and Sunkist.

While yew hedges are generally hardy and low-maintenance, they can be susceptible to certain diseases and pests. Common problems include Phytophthora root rot, which is caused by overly wet soil, and the yew scale insect, which can cause defoliation and yellowing of the foliage. Regular inspection and prompt action can help prevent and treat these issues.

In conclusion, the yew hedge is a smart choice for gardeners looking for a versatile, beautiful, and low-maintenance hedge. It can be easily shaped into various topiary forms and is tolerant of different growing conditions. With proper planting, maintenance, and care, your yew hedge will be a long-standing feature in your garden.

Plant Profile

The yew (Taxus baccata) is an evergreen tree or shrub that is often used as a hedge or for topiary in gardens. There are five main types of yew, with Taxus baccata being the most common. Yews are slow-growing and can easily be pruned into different shapes. They are known for their dense, dark green foliage and long, flexible branches.

When it comes to growing yews, they prefer a location with well-draining soil. They can tolerate a wide range of soil types, but they thrive in soil that is rich in organic matter, such as humus. Yews are generally low-maintenance plants, but they do require regular fertilization, particularly with a slow-release fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. It’s also important to prune yews regularly to maintain their shape and density.

Yews are usually planted in the fall or early spring, and they should be watered regularly during their first few years of growth. They are fairly drought-tolerant once established, but they prefer moist soil. The soil around the yews should be water-permeable to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. Yews are also known for their toxicity, particularly their seeds and foliage, so it’s important to keep children and pets away from them.

Yews are generally hardy trees that can withstand cold temperatures and frost. They are also resistant to common pests and diseases. However, a few problems can occur, particularly when pruning young yews. It’s important to avoid cutting back into old wood, as this can result in bare patches. In addition, yews can be susceptible to a specific root parasite called Taxus brevifolia, which can cause root rot if not taken care of promptly.

Yews are loved by gardeners for their versatility, as they can be used as both hedges and topiary trees. They can be planted in a row to create a smart and formal hedge, or they can be planted individually and pruned into various shapes and designs. Yews also produce bright red berries, which add a splash of color to the garden. However, it’s important to note that the berries are poisonous and should not be ingested.

In conclusion, yews are a popular choice for gardens and hedges due to their evergreen nature, low maintenance requirements, and ability to be pruned into various shapes. They thrive in well-draining soil and require regular fertilization. Yews are also known for their toxicity, so caution should be exercised when planting them in locations that are frequently accessed by children or pets. Despite a few potential problems, yews are generally hardy and can add beauty to any garden.


Yew trees are evergreen plants that have been used for centuries as hedging and topiary trees. They are versatile and hardy, making them a popular choice for gardeners. Here are some care tips for yew trees:

  • Plant yew trees in well-draining soil in a sunny or partially shaded location. Yews can tolerate a wide range of soil types.
  • Water the trees regularly, especially during dry periods. However, be careful not to overwater as yews do not like waterlogged soil.
  • Prune yews in early spring or late winter to shape the hedges or topiary. Yews have flexible branches and can be easily trained into different shapes.
  • Yews have toxic foliage and should be planted a safe distance away from areas where children or pets play. It is also important to wear protective clothing when pruning yews.
  • Yews are relatively low maintenance and do not require specific care. However, they can be susceptible to pests such as scale insects and aphids. If you notice any signs of pest attack, consider using an appropriate pesticide.
  • Yews have shallow and spreading roots, so avoid planting them too close to buildings or other structures. The roots can also cause problems with water drainage, so choose a location with good water-permeable soil.
  • Yews can be propagated by seed or by taking cuttings. If you prefer to grow yews from seed, sow them in a well-prepared seedbed in late autumn. For cuttings, take semi-ripe cuttings in mid-summer and plant them in a mixture of compost and sand.
  • Choose yew varieties that are suitable for hedging or topiary. Some popular types include Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’ and Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’.

In summary, yew trees are easy to care for and can be used for various purposes in the garden. Whether you want to create a formal hedge or a decorative topiary, yews are a great choice.


Yew trees, both as individual specimens and when used for hedging, can thrive in a wide range of locations. They are particularly well-suited to the temperate climate of Europe, where they have been popular for centuries. However, they can also tolerate colder weather and frost.

When selecting a location for your yew tree, it is important to consider a few factors. Yews prefer well-drained soil, so choose a spot with good water-permeable ground. They can grow in both full sun and partial shade, but they perform better with some shade, particularly in hotter areas.

Yew trees are evergreen, meaning they keep their foliage year-round. For this reason, they benefit from being planted in a location that is protected from strong winds. They also tolerate pruning well, so you can shape them into beautiful topiary designs or keep them as hedges.

Yews are slow-growing trees, but they can still reach a height of 4 feet (1.2 meters) or more. Make sure to give them enough space to grow. When it comes to maintenance, yews are relatively low-maintenance plants. They require regular watering, particularly during dry spells, and occasional feeding with a balanced fertilizer. During the spring, they may attract pests like aphids or lice, but these can usually be managed through appropriate pruning.

Yew trees are also beneficial for wildlife. They provide shelter and nesting sites for birds, and their bright red berries are a valuable food source for birds and other animals. However, it is important to note that the berries and other parts of the yew tree are poisonous to humans and pets.

In conclusion, when selecting a location for your yew tree, choose a spot with well-drained soil and some shade, protect it from strong winds, and provide regular watering and pruning. With the right care, your yew tree will thrive and beautify your living environment.

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.