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Pruning Yew?

I have a self sown yew about 20yrs old standing 5-6ft high. it has never been formally pruned, I've only ever trimmed any bits that got in my way.

how far can i cut into a branch so that i still get new growth. OH is happy to take the hedge trimmer to it but he gets a bit gungo ho if he isnt given clear directions. His garden philosophy 'if it lives it lives, if it dies tough!'

The final effect I am after isnt exactly topiary just a neatly trimmed shape as this border is being re worked as I have to have 2 dead crab apples, 1 dead deutzia and 7 3yr old self sown sycamores and 5 3yr old self sown ash removed.

Any advice please, thanks in advance.

On plant Taxus baccata



Yew is pretty forgiving and can be pruned right back to the main trunk if necessary. But I wouldn't do that now, I'd wait until spring and give it a good feed at the same time

8 Nov, 2012


As above, you can prune Yew as hard as you like....we've just reduced a 20 foot specimen to a 2 foot stump and it's growing back.

We trim all our yews in summer...around mid august using very sharp shears or hedge trimmers. We cut back the big brute in March

9 Nov, 2012


Thanks gentelmen. My husband will be overjoyed that he can give it a good trim. It will be in the spring as it is full of berries.

9 Nov, 2012


I saw the NT gardeners at one of their properties last year - they'd cut the back half of a Yew hedge right to the old wood, and they said it would look great again by this year, when they'd tackle the othe side. 'Trim' was certainly not the word! A very large 'prune' or even a controlled 'hack'! lol.

9 Nov, 2012


There's an old yew in a carpark near here. They seem to have hacked it back a lot, probably while constructing the car park. It's growing back from the old trunk - lots of nice new shoots :o)

9 Nov, 2012


As others have said yew can be pruned as hard as you like. One of my customers hard pruned a yew to the point where I though he'd gone nuts but within a few weeks it re-sprouted from very old bare stems

9 Nov, 2012

How do I say thanks?

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