Yew Hedge Pruning

A popular choice as a hedging plant across the country, Yew hedges or Taxus Baccata plants can fill a garden with bright green foliage during the spring months and attractive red fruits in autumn. Also referred to as the “King of Hedges” Yew plants are a classic English choice, remaining evergreen all year round.

As with most types of hedging, Yew hedges need pruning to encourage new growth and to keep them looking beautiful throughout the year.

When To Prune A Yew Hedge

If you are approaching Yew pruning for the first time, you will need to know which time of year is ideal for trimming. Remember, not every plant is the same, so what may work for a hedge species like Leylandii may not work for a Yew hedge.

For newly planted Yew hedges, you can trim back any growths along the side of the hedge to retain the shape of it. This can be done between October and March to help promote plant growth during the early development stages. During the summer months, you can also trim the side shoots and use supporting canes in intervals as it grows further.

However, you will want to avoid trimming the tops of the plant as this can cause stunting, resulting in far slower growth over the course of the year. This type of Yew pruning is referred to as formative pruning, as it only takes place during the first few years after planting the hedge.

As the years pass and your Yew hedge becomes more established, you can maintain the plant by trimming during the summer right up until September. If you delay Yew hedge pruning beyond this time, you may risk your plant developing bare patches, so it is preferable to undertake the task as soon as possible.

Be sure to check that you will not be disturbing any wildlife before beginning pruning. If you happen upon a bird’s nest or suspect that birds may be living in your hedging, stop all work immediately and resume during late summer to prevent any further wildlife damage. Read our advice on when to cut a hedge to avoid nesting birds for further information.

We recommend shaping your Yew hedge sides in a slightly sloped form, with the lower branches of the plant a little longer than the topmost branches. This is to allow as much of the foliage to have access to light as possible. You also will want to avoid hard pruning your Yew hedge as it will not regrow from old wood, a common characteristic for conifer plants.

For more help and advice on yew hedge pruning, feel free to contact the Hopes Grove Nurseries team. Alternatively, you can take a look at our knowledge base for further information on hedge planting, maintenance, pest control, diseases and more.