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Yew Hedging

Yew Hedging (Taxus Baccata)

Yew hedging (Taxus baccata) is probably more highly valued - and adds more value - than any other. A true conifer, yew has deep green, dense foliage that can be easily clipped into precise sides, corners and curves which makes it the perfect choice where formality is required. Unlike many conifers, it regrows well from old wood so forgives the odd slip with a hedge trimmer. And as a true native, yew will grow in almost any soil and aspect in the UK. Combined with a huge lifespan and tremendous disease resistance and it is easy to see why a good yew hedge is so highly prized, but if its formality s not for you, why not have a look at the rest of our range of hedging plants for sale?

Yew in Summary

  • Uses: Hedges from 100cms upwards, in topiary and as a specimen
  • Good Points: Clips beautifully, evergreen, bomb-proof, value adding
  • Position: Anywhere there is drainage
  • Growth: 30cms p.a. until the top is clipped. Then much slower.

Growing yew

Planting Yew Hedging

Planting a yew hedge is mainly common sense. The fundamentals apply; your plants need light, air, food and water and firm foundations.

yew hedging

You can see all this in our film on How to Plant a Formal Hedge. This is supplemental to that film and applies if you have well-drained soil - look at our specific instructions on how to plant yew where drainage is bad if you do not.

Preparing the ground for a Yew Hedge

A yew hedge can easily be happy and healthy several hundred years from now. So spend a little extra time and effort on preparation - it pays dividends, especially as a good yew hedge adds enormous value to your home. If you can, use bare rooted or rootballed plants - yew establishes easily and both are cheaper, bigger and stronger than the potted equivalent. The bare root planting season runs from October to March.

Dig a trench about 30 cms deep and 50-60 cms wide. Remove roots, perennial weeds, stones and other rubbish and incorporate plenty of well-rotted organic matter. Break up any clods and work the whole together well so you have a fine, crumbly planting medium. Ideally, this should be done in advance and left to weather prior to planting. However, unless your soil is awful you can prepare and plant on the same day.

Spacing and Planting Yew Hedging Plants

Depending on size, space your yew hedge plants at between 2 and 3 per metre in a single row. A Yew hedge is beautiful but formal so getting lines and spacing accurate matters. Use a string stretched between canes to make sure you are planting straight.

Spread the roots of each plant out well. Water the bare roots and sprinkle with Rootgrow. Check the spacing between plants one last time before you return the soil around the roots. Firm it down as you go making sure that each yew hedging plant ends up at the same level in the soil as it was before we lifted it. it is a good idea while doing this to hold the yew so it does not sink with the soil. It is a bad error to plant your yew too deep as the bark on young plants can rot easily causing rapid death. A trick to help get this right is to aim to end up with a bed that is slightly ridged - no more than 2-3 cms higher in the middle than at the edges. This helps water run away from the trunks of the young yew hedge plants and the ridge will erode so the danger of rotting bark is minimised. Water well and admire your handiwork with a cup of tea.

Looking after newly planted Yew Hedging

In the first months after planting, firm down the soil after hard frosts. In the first year, water yew well when it needs it, and don't water at all when the ground is damp. (If the earth is damp 2 cms down, then there is no need to water). If it is dry, then water really well. A lot of water infrequently is much better than little and often.

Yew has a reputation for being slow growing. This is not strictly true - planted in well-prepared ground and watered adequately until it has established - yew can perform well. You should plan on little or no growth in the first year after planting but by year three it should be increasing in height by up to 30 cms per annum.

Be careful! Once you cut the growing tip off, the rate of growth slows right down - to as little as 5 cms per annum. So never trim the top of your yew hedge until it has reached its final height. However, you can clip the sides whenever you want when the temperature is above freezing. For more information have a look at our advice on how to prune yew hedges

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  1. Taxus baccata - 30 - 120cms Saplings
    • Native evergreen. V. hardy. Any well drained soil, any location.
    • Other Sizes: Larger Pot-Grown & Rootballed Plants
    • Perfect formal hedging
    • Max. Height: 20m
    • Year round delivery.
    From £2.02

  2. Taxus baccata- 80 - 160 cms Rootballed Trees
    • Native evergreen. V. hardy. Any well drained soil, any location
    • Other Sizes: Smaller Bareroot & Pot-Grown Plants
    • Perfect formal hedging.
    • Max. Height: 20m
    • Rootballed Delivery: Nov-Mar
    From £14.25

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