Yew | Plant Profile
Yew (Taxus x media) are a group of highly variable shrub cultivars. While there is quite a bit of variation, certain characteristics persist throughout the group. These shrubs are evergreen with dark green leaves or needles that last year-round. All of the plants are either male or female individuals. In order for fruit to occur, female plants must have a nearby male counterpart for pollination. Small red fruits are produced when pollinated. The fruits should not be consumed as all parts of these plant are poisonous when ingested.
Yew prefers average fertility, medium moisture, well drained soils in full sun to part shade. These shrubs tend to be quite tolerant of shade and may grow where other trees struggle. Avoid overly saturated ground as Yew has little tolerance of such conditions. Prune to shape in early spring if desired.
Yew can be planted singularly or massed to create a hedge. Their tolerance of pruning allows them to be shaped into a formal or informal hedges.
‘Densiformis’ is a semi-dwarf cultivar of Yew. This variety tends to grow wider than tall and are female plants. They may reach 4′ tall and 6′ wide.
‘Hicks’ (pictured) are narrow, upright shrubs that can grow up to 20′, though they rarely reach this height. This variety can be either male or female.
The most common issues with Yew are winterburn, from overexposure to harsh winter winds and root rot from overly saturated soil.