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East Lothian, United Kingdom Gb

This is a picture of probably an over tall and over slender Yew. We have not done anything about cutting it back because for a while it had a tropaeolum speciosum growing through it and the berries were very popular with a variety of birds (including wax wings) during the hard winter. The snow did not break any of the branches but it did make one or two of them very floopy and now the damage has been exacerbated by the winds we have had. You can't see on the photo but we have tied up the floppy branches with string. what should we do with it?




It is difficult to tell from the photo but I 'think' this is a columnar or Irish Juniper rather than a Yew. If it isn't too tall you can wire the whole thing to keep it looking neat, alternatively just cut out the damaged branches.

3 Apr, 2011


Lets assume its yew which i think it is, trapoleum always looks good going though yew, judging by the size of this yew i think it needs wireing, go for a tough wire and wire it in aprox four positions going up the tree, please remember yew nearly always come back after pruning, you will need to keep the height to a managble size, otherwize it will become a big exercise keeping it wired etc over the years and remember yew are very good at being renovated, see the top of the tree you can have that same shape by coming down a little on each stem and if wireing it pull it a little tight in each section wired, and also wire it within, pulling in them long slender branches, but protect each part of the wireing by putting some padding round each part so the wire does not cut into the tree. julien

3 Apr, 2011


Thank you to both of you. I didn't think it was an Irish Juniper. It's berries are bright red and exactly the same as a huge old Yew nearby. I have taken another photo, a closeup of the needles. Was going to send it but can't do that from here will do it from query page. Thanks again.

3 Apr, 2011


You can edit your original question and add another photo.
Though if it has bright red berries it is a Yew. The females seem to be far more columnar than the males. Our male yew is far too far to wire... the female does not require it!

3 Apr, 2011


I never recommend wiring columnar plants, because, sooner or later, the wire breaks, and the problem comes back four-fold. Better to just cut the floppy branch off inside the outline of the bush. With Yews and columnar Junipers and Chamaecyparis, the gap will gradually fill in. Other conifers may not fill in, and so may be worth repeated wiring.

4 Apr, 2011

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