- English Yew Hedge PlantsTaxus baccata
- Yew Hedging
- Yew Hedging
- Welcome To The Blog That Gives You The Plant Grower’s Perspective!
- Zone 5 Yew Varieties – Growing Yews In Cold Climates
- Selecting Yew Plants for Zone 5
- Zone 5 Yew Varieties
- Church leader plants sapling to mark 275th chapel anniversary
English Yew Hedge PlantsTaxus baccata
Law regarding tall hedges
When planting extra tall hedging, there is the chance that, depending on the location, it may not be popular with a neighbour. There is written legislation regarding hedge heights to be problematic between neighbours. The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 attempts to outline procedure when hedges are adjudged by a neighbour to impact their own house or garden severely; blocking light or restricting views for example. A high hedge is classified as being more than two metres tall and evergreen or semi-evergreen, meaning deciduous hedges such as Beech that are available over 2m are not affected by the legislation. If a dispute should occur, the procedure involves raising a case with the local council, should you not be able to negotiate with your neighbour directly. At this point, the council will investigate and decide based on how much the hedge is deemed to affect the neighbour, whereby they may ask for the hedge to be kept at 2m or below; however, there is the chance for appeal.
Alternatives to tall hedging
If you are looking to achieve tall hedging on a budget, a cheaper alternative to buying large 2m+ plants is to purchase fast-growing hedging. Certain species will grow at a quicker rate than others, so if you are looking to create a tall hedge for privacy or aesthetics, then it could be worth looking at these fast-growing hedges. Species such as Cherry Laurel can grow at a rate of up to 60cm a year so buying a plant that is 150cm means you could have a hedge over 2 metres within a year. One concern with fast-growing hedge plants is that they may require more care and attention, but typically those hedges require pruning once or twice per year.
These 4ft Yew hedge plants are an economic way to plant a yew hedge. Being container grown, these Yew will quickly establish themselves in your garden representing good value for money. These plants are all sold as 3.5-4ft (105-120cm) in height.
Yew is slow growing and one can expect 6-9 inches of growth a year if left untrimmed. It forms a dense evergreen hedge with dark green foliage which looks extremely smart and is often used in many formal gardens and parks. Yew has been used as a hedging plant for many centuries and can be considered to be the quintessential English hedge and can be grown as a small hedge to demarcate parts of a garden or to provide a neat edge to borders and flowers beds. Alternatively, Yew can be grown into a taller hedge and will quite happily grow to several metres high or maintained as a 6ft hedge to give that all important eye level privacy.
A Yew hedge will need to be trimmed annually in the spring or autumn.
We recommend planting these yew trees at 2ft (60cm) apart (as shown in the picture) which is a good planting distance to give immediate effect without the cost of planting closer.
Many people choose Yew as an alternative to Box hedging, although we do supply a range of plants suitable for growing smaller hedges. See our Smaller Hedging category page.
Yew is tolerant of most soil types although it does not like waterlogged soil. It also grows quite happily in full sunshine or in shade making it very versatile for a number of different situations.
More information about planting a Yew hedge can be found on the Yew Hedging category page.
For more information about Yew Hedging 3.5-4ft (105-120m) in a 15lt pot or to discuss alternative products, call us on 01252 714552 or email at
Why should I plant a Yew hedge?
Yew (Taxus Baccata) is also known as English Yew or Common Yew and has been a popular hedging plant for many centuries. Yew is a native evergreen conifer to the UK and you will find many ancient specimens of Yew in almost all churchyards, which are often hundreds of years old. Yew is slow growing and clips well to form a dense hedge with dark evergreen foliage. Yew is also used by many people for creating topiary. Yew is a common hedge plant used in many formal gardens as it is considered quintessentially English and its slow growth means it keeps its smart shape well after clipping.
How tall will Yew grow?
A single Yew can be grown into a tree and will grow to a good height if left for long enough, although it is slow growing. When planting a Yew hedge, it can quite happily be grown as a short hedge of around 2ft in height but will be equally happy grown as a taller hedge with a height of 10ft or more. Yew can also be cut back hard and will regenerate which makes it useful for those trying to restore older hedges.
How quickly will a Yew hedge grow?
Yew are slow growing and this must be understood when planting a hedge. They will put on around 6-9 inches of growth each year if left untrimmed. Once the hedge has reached its desired height it should be trimmed at that height accordingly to maintain its size and increase its density. This will slow down the upward growth of your hedge and encourage growth sideways to make a denser hedge. If you are looking for a fast growing instant hedge, then Yew is probably not the answer unless you are prepared to buy extremely large plants. However, Yew does make an excellent hedge if a little bit of patience is exercised.
When should I clip or trim a Yew hedge?
A Yew hedge will need to be clipped annually in the Spring or Autumn as you would with any other hedge.
How far apart should I plant a Yew hedge?
Yew should be planted 2ft (60cm) apart regardless of how tall or short they are when you buy them and careful preparation of the planting site is important. See section below on how to look after your Yew hedge after planting.
How do I look after my Yew hedge after planting?
Although Yew plants will put up with most soil types, we recommended that the planting soil is mixed with compost to give the plants the best environment to grow in for their first year. After planting, your Yew hedge should be watered regularly during its first year to give it the best chance of survival and this is especially important if your hedge is being planted in the drier summer months. That being said, Yew does not like waterlogged soils and so over-watering can be a problem.
How do I water my Yew hedge?
Watering a Yew hedge is especially important if you are planting during the summer or a dry period. For watering, we recommend using leaky hose (sometimes described as porous pipe) which can be connected to your existing hose pipe and will slowly leak water onto the roots of your hedge in a controlled manner to ensure that it soaks in and your hedge becomes properly watered. Leaky hose is cheap, easy to install and very effective. See our Accessories page for more details on leaky hose.
Is Yew tolerant of different soil types?
Yew will tolerate most soil types (including dry sites) but do not like being in waterlogged soil. If you have a wet site, speak to us for alternative suggestions.
Does Yew like full sun or shade?
Yew will grow well in full sunshine or shade making them extremely versatile.
We usually stock a selection of different sizes of Yew throughout the year. In the colder months of the year (beginning in the autumn) we supply a large range of different sizes of root balled Yew (particularly larger sizes) which can be a more cost effective way of planting a large Yew hedge.
For more information on our availability of Yew or if you have any questions or queries about existing Yew hedges or need advice about planting a new Yew hedge, please call us on 01252 714552 or email
Welcome To The Blog That Gives You The Plant Grower’s Perspective!
For decades the Yew (Taxus x media ‘Densiformis’) was considered one of the staple plants used in the landscape. It served as a good, solid evergreen shrub, providing color all year long and it was basically maintenance free. As long as the plant had good drainage there really wasn’t much that affected it. No bugs, no diseases…..no brainer.
Along comes the boxwood, the new “hottie” on the market that has been gaining in popularity over the past 10 years or so. Homeowners became tired of the old look and began searching for something new and Boxwood sure fit the bill. Having a lot of the same attributes as the Yew in regards to low maintenance and year round color, Boxwoods have become the new staple evergreen for the landscape.
So which plant is better……Yew or Boxwood? Here’s the plant information you need to know.
Let’s start with the Yew. Taxus ‘Densiformis’, or spreading yew, is a needled evergreen that grows 3-4’ tall and 4-6’ wide. It grows best in full sun to part shade and is hardy in zones 4-7. It blooms March –April, but its flowers are relatively insignificant. Female plants produce bright red fruit that can be toxic to humans and animals if ingested. Yews tolerate a wide range of soil conditions as long as there is good drainage. It is considered a low maintenance plant that prefers a slightly acidic to near neutral pH, but is somewhat intolerant of winter temperature extremes. Occasionally Black Vine Weevils and scale insects will feed on Yews and they can be susceptible to sooty mold, root rot, needle blight, twig blight and phytophthora canker. Pruning on Yews should be done in early spring before the new growth appears. Yews can tolerate dense shade, drought and they are resistant to rabbits.
Now, let’s move on to Boxwood. Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Winter Gem’ is a Korean boxwood which is a broadleaf evergreen growing 2-3’ tall and 2-3’ wide. This plant is best grown in soil with medium moisture and good drainage. Boxwood ‘Winter Gem’ grows well in full sun to partial shade and prefers a slightly acidic pH in more sun and slightly alkaline pH in partial shade. It blooms in April with yellow-green flowers that are of little significance aesthetically. Boxwood ‘Winter Gem’ has a shallow root system so a 1-2” layer of mulch will be beneficial. Stem and branch damage can occur from heavy snow accumulation if not removed in a timely manner. There is some susceptibility to leaf spot and blight, but in particular Boxwood blight. Insects that may present a problem include psyllids, boxwood mites and boxwood leafminer. Boxwood ‘Winter Gem’ is tolerant of rabbits and deer.
Both of these plants serve an important purpose in the landscape. They both provide nice green color year round and overall are considered very low maintenance plants. Personal preference may be the deciding factor here.
Zone 5 Yew Varieties – Growing Yews In Cold Climates
Evergreen plants in the landscape are a terrific way to reduce winter doldrums as you wait for those first spring flowers and summer vegetables. Cold hardy yews are outstanding performers both in ease of care and also versatility. Many can be sheared into a hedge and there are low growing specimens and tall, stately plants. There are many perfect yew plants for zone 5, one of our coldest planting regions in North America. Select zone 5 yew varieties that suit your garden vision and you will have provable winners year round.
Selecting Yew Plants for Zone 5
Deciduous plants offer springtime excitement, autumn color and a range of forms, but evergreens have tenacity and durable green beauty. Yew plants are shrubs to small trees which enliven the garden even in the middle of winter. There are many cold hardy yews that fit the bill for zone 5, most of which are adapted to full or partial sun locations and even some shady areas.
If you need a plant for any light exposure that grows slowly and tolerates occasional neglect, yews might be for you. Growing yews in cold climates requires some protection from wind, as cold breezes can damage the tips of the needles, and well-draining soil. Other than that these plants can adapt to almost any soil as long as it is acidic and situation.
Yews make formal hedges, elegant trees, green groundcover, foundation plants and even topiaries. You can even shear the plant quite severely and it will reward you with emerald green growth.
Zone 5 Yew Varieties
The smaller yews can get 3 to 5 feet in height. Yews in zone 5 are wonderful in containers, as borders and accents behind other plants.
- ‘Aurescens’ grows only 3 feet tall and wide, and its new growth has a golden tint.
- Another low grower is ‘Watnung Gold’ with bright yellow foliage.
- A good ground cover is ‘Repandens,’ which gets 4 feet tall but grows much wider.
- The dwarf Japanese cultivar ‘Densa’ is compact at 4 feet tall by 8 feet wide.
- ‘Emerald Spreader’ is another great ground cover at only 2 ½ feet in height and sprawling out with deeply green needles.
- Some other smaller yew plants for zone 5 to consider are ‘Nana,’ ‘Green Wave,’ ‘Tauntonii’ and ‘Chadwikii.’
Privacy hedges and stand-alone trees need to be big, and some of the largest yews can approach 50 feet or slightly more when mature. Plant these big guys in a field or on the calm side of the house when growing yews in cold climates. This will prevent wind shears from damaging the delicate leaves.
- The North American yews are the largest forms.
- The native Pacific yew is in this group and achieves 50 feet with a lovely loose pyramid shape. ‘Capitata’ develops into a medium sized tree with needles that bronze in winter. A slender, yet, tall specimen is ‘Columnaris’ with year round green foliage.
- Chinese yew grows up to 40 feet while English yews generally are a bit shorter. Both have numerous cultivars with variegated to golden foliage and even a weeping variety.
Give yews in zone 5 a little protection the first year or two in case long freezes are expected. Mulching the root zone should keep the youngsters healthy until spring thaw.
Church leader plants sapling to mark 275th chapel anniversary
A CHURCH leader has planted a sapling propagated from a tree over 1,000 years old to mark the 275th anniversary of the founding of a chapel in Torfaen.
Wales United Reformed Church Synod Moderator, Rev Simon Walkling, held the planting ceremony at the Ebenezer Chapel graveyard in Cwmffrwdoer.
The tree planting was part of a charity campaign called ‘We Love Yew’ aimed at protecting Britain’s ancient yew heritage.
The sapling propagated from an ancient yew at St Mary’s in Eastling in Kent was planted in late September.
It is one of 800 being planted across Britain to celebrate this year’s 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.
It is thought the Ankerwycke yew provided shelter for King John during the sealing of the charter in Runnymede, Surrey, in 1215.
The Conservation Foundation charity is spearheading the yew tree campaign.
Foundation director David Shreeve said: “We are delighted that Ebenezer Chapel are supporting Britain’s yew heritage by planting this special sapling, but we hope this new project will encourage people to learn about their local yew and its place in the history of where they live.”