How to Grow Yews Shrub or Tree

Tree Branch

About Growing Yews

Yew shrubs or trees are a popular evergreen. Homeowners love the attractive foliage of this ornamental evergreen. There are many varieties of yew shrubs, and even a few tree varieties, which can grow up to 65 feet high. They are slow-growing and drought-tolerant. But, they are also long-lived. Some tree varieties can live up to 1,000 years!

Yews have attractive, dark green, fine-textured needles. A few varieties have golden brown needles. The plant produces tiny white flowers in the spring, which give way to bright, red berries. Some varieties have an upright growth, while others are spreading types. This is important to know when selecting the variety to fit your landscaping plans.

A Toxic Plant

Before selecting yews for your landscaping, it is important to know, that they are a toxic plant. All parts of the plant are toxic, including those bright red berries. The seeds are highly toxic. Yews contain the toxin “Taxine”, which is toxic to humans and animals. If you have children or pets, you may want to consider another ornamental for your yard.

Did you Know: The Western Yew (Taxus Brevifolia) contains “Taxol”, which is used in the treatment of cancer.

Flower Color: White, giving way to red berries.

Flowers Bloom: Spring

Plant height: 8 to 65 feet tall, depending upon variety.

Hardiness Zones:  4 – 9

Botanical Name: Taxus Yew

Varieties of Yew Evergreen Shrub

There are many varieties of Yews. While most are evergreen shrubs, some varieties are trees, growing up to 40 feet tall.

While most varieties have green needles, a few varieties have golden brown needles.

Did You Know? Yews are popular for landscaping in cities. That’s because they are resistant to urban pollution.

Yew Shrub Propagation

You can grow Yew shrubs from seed, or cuttings. Most people buy them at a garden store or nursery.

Planting Yews – Like any other shrub or tree, dig a hole about twice the size of the rootball. Mix in some rich compost. Remove the rooted plant from the container. Set it into the hole, and carefully loosen and spread the outer roots a little. Then fill in the hole, lightly tamping down the soil. Water thoroughly, 2 -3 times a week for a couple of weeks.

How to Grow Yew Evergreen Shrubs

Yews are an easy-to-grow, low-maintenance shrub.

This plant prefers full sunlight to partial shade.

Yews grow best in sandy, well-draining soils. They do not like wet soils and can get root rot.

Established plants are very drought tolerant. Once they have established their root system, they will seldom need extra water. Water plants only during a severe drought.

Mulch around plants, to help keep weeds down, and to maintain a tidy appearance.

Fertilize once in the spring, with an evergreen shrub fertilizer.

Prune plants (especially shrub varieties) as needed, to maintain a shapely form. They respond well to a good trim.

Winter burn can occur in cold regions. Protect plants, as needed.

Ideal Soil pH – 4.0 – 6.0

Plant Problems

Roots will rot in wet soils.

Fungal diseases are an occasional problem.

Deer and Winter Protection

Protect yews from browsing deer, and winter snow and ice damage, by using pest netting over the plants. They come in a convenient bag, sheet, and bulk sizes.

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