Can Yew Hedges Be Pruned in Winter

yew bushCan I prune my yew hedges now, in winter?

Answer: Yews, of the genus Taxus, are wonderful trees and shrubs with lush, rich color—making them spectacular options for dense, easy-to-maintain and long-lasting hedges.

Yew hedges are very forgiving when it comes to pruning, allowing gardeners to trim, shape and heavily shear with little worry. Winter is the dormant period for yew hedges, which means they are not actively growing. During the dormant period you can trim your hedges without the worry of removing new growth. Many gardeners wait and prune in early spring, before growing season begins in summer. However, some suggest lightly trimming throughout the summer and into the fall, in addition to winter or spring pruning, to encourage fuller, bushier growth. Avoid fall trimming of newly established yews and those growing in regions with harsh winter weather, because it could spur new growth that may become damaged during winter.

Remember to keep in mind the growth pattern of yews. Avoid trimming the top of the yews until they have reached around two inches taller than the desired height. This is important because clipping the top will drastically slow the overall yearly growth of the yew. Also keep in mind the form. Try trimming your yew so that the bottom branches are a little bit longer than the top. This will ensure that the bottom branches have adequate exposure to the sun.

Image: Tanaka Juuyoh
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