Evergreen Yews: Versatile Plants for Landscaping and Christmas Trees


Evergreen yews are versatile plants that can be used for landscaping and Christmas trees. They thrive in a variety of climates and are easy to manage.

Yews have a long history of being used in Christmas tree traditions. Their red berries are stunning, and they have a strong Christian connection.

Yews are sprouting up in a variety of churches because of this. Their sprigs are frequently cut during the Christmas season and used to create holly, a natural adornment for the holiday.

Common Name Yew bush, yew tree, yew shrub
Botanical Name Taxus
Family Taxaceaev
Plant Type Perennial
Mature Size 4 to 60 feet tall, 4 to 20 feet wide, depending on the variety
Sun Exposure Full, partial, shade
Soil Type Loamy, moist, well-drained
Soil pH Neutral (5.0 to 7.0)
Bloom Time Nonflowering
Flower Color Nonflowering
Hardiness Zones Zones 2 to 10 (USDA)
Native Areas Europe, Africa, Asia
Toxicity Toxic to people and pets34

Tips for Keeping Your Plants Healthy

  • Yews are generally low-maintenance plants that are simple to take care of. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your yew stays healthy:
  • Water regularly, especially during dry spells
  • Fertilize every few years- prune as needed to keep the plant looking its best Yews are versatile plants that can be used in a variety of ways in the landscape.
  • They make excellent border plants, hedges, and foundation plantings.
  • Yews can also be used as accent plants or massed together for a striking effect. When choosing a yew for your landscape, consider the mature size of the plant and its growth habit.
  • Some varieties of yew grow quite large, while others remain more compact. Upright varieties make good hedges, while mounded varieties work well as foundation plants or accent plants.

Lighting and Temperature

Yews grow best in full sun to partial shade. They will tolerate deep shade but may become leggy and produce fewer berries.

Yews are quite tolerant of cold weather and will even do well in areas that experience heavy snowfall.


Yews are not picky when it comes to soil and will grow in a variety of conditions.

They prefer moist, well-drained soil but will tolerate drier conditions. Yews are also tolerant of clay.


Yews do not need a lot of fertilizer to stay healthy.

A light application of balanced fertilizer in the spring is all that is needed. Be sure not to over-fertilize as this can damage the roots and cause the needles to turn yellow.


Yews can be pruned at any time of year.

However, it is best to wait until after the plant has finished flowering to avoid damaging the new growth. Yews respond well to pruning and can be shaped into a variety of forms.


Yews are drought tolerant once they are established.

However, young plants will need to be watered regularly until they become established. Be sure not to over-water as this can damage the roots and cause the needles to turn yellow.


Yews can range in size from small shrubs to large trees.

When choosing a yew for your landscape, consider the mature size of the plant and its growth habit.

Some varieties of yew grow quite large, while others remain more compact. Upright varieties make good hedges, while mounded varieties work well as foundation plants or accent plants.


Yews are not known for their flowers or fruits.

The inconspicuous flowers are usually green or yellow and appear in the spring. The berries, which ripen in the fall, are red or orange.

The berries are poisonous to humans but are an important food source for birds.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Yew is a popular evergreen shrub that is often used in landscaping. However, yew is also susceptible to infestation by scale and mealybugs. These insects hibernate as nymphs and emerge in the spring to feed on the yew. Infestations can result in dead branches, needle loss, dieback, and mold problems. Control of scale and mealybugs can be difficult due to their resistance to most insecticides. The best course of action is to remove the affected plants and treat the area with a 70% diluted solution of isopropyl alcohol. Yew is also relatively resistant to common plant diseases.

Propagating Yew

Yews are best propagated through cuttings. Even though it takes more time, this procedure is significantly quicker than moving yew seeds (which could take a long time to sprout).

Additionally, the cutting technique results in children that are identical to the parents. Therefore, this strategy should be used if you want to grow an existing hedge or even cut a foundation.

The yew can be multiplied through cuttings in the following ways:

Discover pruning shears, containers of rooting hormone powder, sand, and potting soil.

Cut your yew plant into 4- to 6-inch cuttings in the late summer or early fall. Make sure to cut from the plant’s softwood section. (Softwood is the period of time between “fresh growth” and “hardwood,” when the plant’s stem starts to toughen.)

Types of Yew

The most common yews used in landscaping are Taxus baccata “Repandens,” Taxus canadensis, and Taxus cuspidata. Taxus baccata “Repandens” is a low-growing shrub that can reach heights of 2-4 feet and widths of 12-15 feet.

It is often used as a foundation plant or short hedge. Taxus canadensis, also known as the Canadian yew, is an evergreen shrub that reaches a height of 4 feet and a width of 7 feet.

Finally, Taxus cuspidata, which is also known as the Japanese yew or European yew, is an evergreen tree that can reach heights of 15-30 feet and widths of up to 8 feet.

It is commonly used as a privacy hedge. All three varieties are easy to care for and require little maintenance.

Are yews drought tolerant?

Yews are one of the most versatile and low-maintenance shrubs you can find. They are tolerant of a wide range of conditions, including extreme temperatures, wind, and cold.

They also thrive in shady, dry areas where other plants would struggle. In addition, yews are extremely adaptable and can grow in almost any type of soil.

As a result, they are an excellent choice for those looking for a plant that is easy to care for and that will provide years of enjoyment.

What is the best fertilizer for yews?

Yews are a popular evergreen shrub that are relatively easy to grow. They are tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions and can even thrive in shady areas.

However, like all plants, they will benefit from regular fertilization. The best fertilizer for yews is a 20-15-15 granular liquid commercial fertilizer formulation.

This type of fertilizer provides the right balance of nutrients to help yews grow healthy and strong. It is important to apply the fertilizer on the drip line of the yew, but not directly on the trunk.

This will help prevent root burn and ensure that the yew gets the nutrients it needs.

How do you take care of a yew?

You can plant yew in moist but well-drained soil that is in full sun to complete shade. Make sure to water well as the plant grows and you won’t require watering again.

The yews thrive in dry soils, as they may be susceptible to root rot in moister conditions. Trim established hedges in the summer. The yew tree that is standard requires minimal care.

If you want to keep it small and bushy, then cut off any lengthier stems that are growing. You can also do this to control the shape of the plant. If you want your yew to take on a specific shape, then trim it accordingly.

You can prune a yew at any time of year, but avoid doing it during the late spring as this is when the plants are busy growing and putting out new shoots.

How do you keep yews healthy?

Yews are an evergreen shrub that can make for a beautiful addition to any landscape. Though they are relatively low-maintenance, there are a few things you can do to ensure your yews stay healthy and looking their best.

Pruning is one of the most important things you can do for your yews. Cut off dead, diseased, or broken branches throughout the year, but perform a thorough pruning in late March or early April.

This will give the yews a chance to regenerate in a healthy way. Hand pruners can be used to cut any branches that are protruding. In addition to pruning, it’s important to fertilize your yews on a regular basis.

Use a balanced fertilizer that contains both nitrogen and potassium. Apply the fertilizer in early spring and then again in mid-summer. By following these simple tips, you can keep your yews looking beautiful for years to come.

When should yews be cut back?

Yews are a type of evergreen that can make a great addition to any landscape. They are relatively low-maintenance and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions.

However, yews do need to be pruned on a regular basis to maintain their shape and size. The best time to cut back yews is just before they begin growing in the spring, typically in the middle to the end of March in our region.

There could be an opportunity to prune in early April, if the weather was cold.

Yews can also be pruned in the summer if necessary, but this should be done sparingly as it can stress the plant. With proper care, yews can provide years of beauty and enjoyment.

How big does a yew shrub get?

There are many types of Yew Shrubs, and the size of the shrub depends on the type. The common yew bush can grow to be 4 to 30 feet tall, and 4 to 20 feet long.

The family Taxaceaev includes many perennial plants, and the size of the yew bush depends on the amount of sun exposure it gets. Full sun exposure will make the yew bush grow to be the tallest, while partial sun exposure will still allow the yew bush to grow to be a few feet tall.

If the yew bush is in complete shade, it will not grow as tall as it would in full sun, but it will still be a few feet tall. It all depends on the type of yew bush and how much sun exposure it gets.

How quickly do yew trees grow?

Yew trees are relatively slow-growing trees. In general, they grow at a rate of less than one foot per year. However, this can vary depending on the species of yew tree and the growing conditions.

For example, some species of yew tree may grow more quickly in ideal conditions, while others may only grow slowly even in optimal conditions. In general, however, yew trees are not fast-growing trees.

This slow growth rate can be an advantage, as it means that the tree will require less pruning and maintenance over time. Additionally, the slow growth rate means that the tree will be less likely to outgrow its space and cause problems.

Ultimately, whether or not a yew tree is a good choice for a particular location depends on many factors. But in general, they are relatively slow-growing trees.

Are yews good?

Yews are popular hedging plants, but they can also be used as specimen plants or to add interest and texture to a mixed border.

You might think that because yews are so adaptable, they would be difficult to care for, but actually they are quite low-maintenance.

Yews prefer well-drained soil, but they will tolerate most soils, including heavy clay or dry sand. They are also drought tolerant once they are established, and they will even grow in full shade.

Yews are slow growers, so they don’t need much pruning, but if you do want to keep them compact, you can shear them in late spring or early summer.

So if you’re looking for an easy-care plant that will add year-round interest to your garden, a yew might be just the tree for you.

When should yews be pruned?

Yews are one of the best shrubs to have in your landscape. They are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of ways, from hedges to accent plants.

However, like all plants, they require occasional maintenance. One of the most important things you can do for your yews is to prune them on a regular basis.

But when is the best time to prune yews? In general, the best time to prune yews is just before they begin to grow in the spring. This typically occurs in the middle to late March in our region.

If it has been a particularly cold winter and the yews have not begun to grow by early April, you can still safely prune them at that time.

By pruning at the right time, you will encourage healthy growth and ensure that your yews look their best all season long.

Jessica Miles

Jessica Miles is a writer for Botanique Boutique, a plant and gardening blog. She has always loved plants, flowers, and anything green. When she was younger, she used to watch her grandfather garden and would be in awe of the beautiful flowers he would grow. Now Jessica writes about all things related to plants and gardening - from beginner tips on how to start growing your own plants, to in-depth guides on caring for a specific type of flower or plant. She loves helping others learn about this fascinating hobby, and hopes that her writing will inspire people to get outside and enjoy nature!

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