The Yew family of shrubs, also known as Taxus. Yew trees and shrubs were symbols of immortality for some and omens of doom for others. Easy-care conifers, you will enjoy the year-round greenery, pollen-filled cone-like flowers, and seasonal red berries!
Plants in the Taxus family are steeped in holiday traditions and strongly associated with churchyards, and church graveyards as a symbol of sadness, and as holiday décor!
Taxus family conifers were described in 1753 by Carolus Linnæus and the name may have been derived from the Greek word - toxon, meaning bow or arrow. These plants have flat ‘leaves’ that spiral around the flexible young stems, and reddish bark. Produce berry-like fruit from a scale-like cone on female plants.
There are over 400 cultivars of Yew bushes, but the two main types used for landscaping are the English (European) Yew and the Japanese Yew. However, there are also the Mexican Yew, Himalayan, Chinese, and Canadian varieties as well. All are conifers with similar, flat soft foliage, relatively slower growth, and red berry-like fruit on female plants.
The wood of mature Yews is prized for furniture making and is surrounded by a reddish bark that looks nice in the winter. Plus the bark has the chemical paclitaxel which is being tested for use in curing cancers - including ovarian and gastric cancers!
Yew bushes are long-lived, disease-resistant, and easy to grow! Add their fluffy evergreen factor to your landscape and see why they are a landscaping standard for hedges, privacy, and foundation borders!
For clean formal pruned hedges and even creative topiary, Taxus have a world of versatility and blend into a wide range of garden styles, sizes, and landscape use! Plus Yews are loved for its craft and décor uses around the holidays - like winter wreaths, garland, swags, outdoor holiday container displays, and Christmas decorations!
It is no wonder that Yews are one of the most popular landscape plants!
These are fantastic shrubs that don’t mind being planted in either full shade or full sun! Few coniferous bushes can boast that! The large variation of sizes and habits displayed by Yews creates numerous uses in landscapes. Some varieties make great hedges because of their dense foliage and others are just begging to be used individually as a specimen. Either way, the soft needles add fine-textured fringe to your garden!
There are many horticultural forms and cultivars and the primary difference between them is the growth habit and size. Plus, the Yew is often a great option when Junipers and Arborvitae are not an option, Yews are perfect alternatives!
Yews shrubs take to pruning very well and even Yews that have outgrown their space can be cut back severely and they will send out new shoots in spring. Bouncing back to looking great in a short time period. Yews are wonderful for topiary work because of just how adaptable to pruning and shaping they are!
Yew bushes have male bushes and female bushes, in a similar fashion to Holly bushes. Male shrubs produce rows of little buttons of pollen along the branch like tiny yellow pom poms. The female cones produce a pulpy red berry around the cone called an aril. Being wind-pollinated, you will need to plant multiple plants in the same vicinity to ensure you have a male shrub among the females in order to enjoy those festive red berries in the fall and to feed local songbirds.
Nature Hills has developed our own complete compliance program called Plant Sentry™. Every single plant that we sell is checked by Plant Sentry to be sure that the plant is not invasive in all states and all destinations that we ship to. Plant Sentry prevents shipments of plants that might be invasive, and prevents diseases and insects from being shipped into areas where each state has restrictions in place for. Nature Hills is doing its part in preventing plant movement of invasives, insects, and diseases!
Japanese Yews are soft and fluffy, and one of the only Evergreens that can grow in full sun and full shade! The shade tolerance is amazing and rare for an evergreen. They can tolerate almost any soil as long as it is well drained. Drought tolerant and easy to grow but they will appreciate a 3-4 inch layer of mulch over the roots.
These plants do have only one mandatory requirement - good drainage. Be sure you have adequate soil drainage before planting. If you suspect you have poor drainage, or an area that is slow to drain after a heavy rain, instead berm the area with 18 inches or more of native topsoil and plant in this mounded, raised-bed location.
In colder hardiness zones you should consider planting your Japanese Yews out of windy, exposed areas or they could see some winter burn.
Fall and winter watering is important for evergreens like Yews to keep them from going into winter dry! Dry roots and cold weather mean plants that retain their foliage all winter dry out and get windburn or winter burn from cold, drying winds and temperature fluctuations. So be sure to water your shrubs well right up until the soil freezes in the fall and provide an extra layer of mulch over the soil surface.
While the berries are not safe for kids, pets, or horses, backyard Birds do love to eat them! The dense, year-round greenery and branching provide bird-friendly shelter and nesting too! Thrushes, Waxwings, Blackbirds, Finches, and sometimes squirrels like to eat.
Renewal prune older, overgrown Yew bushes by giving them a hard pruning back by ⅓, and even older, thicker wood will sprout new growth. Prune in early spring, apply a balanced fertilizer geared for conifers, and give them regular water throughout the spring, summer, and fall for the next few years. It may take time, but you will rejuvenate an old hedge that may be encroaching on a walkway or obscuring a window with this method.
While Taxus are cold-hardy throughout USDA growing zones 4 through 7, the Hicks Yew is an exception and thrives in warmer hardiness zone 8. Do you love the look of the Yew shrub but live in a mild winter area of the country? Nature Hills knows not everyone lives in zone 7 and lower, so we have some great Yew relatives that work great for your climates too!
Your next privacy hedge or evergreen topiary is within reach when you order yourself one of these pest-resistant shrubs that add greenery to your home and garden year-round! Don’t forget all the winter and holiday décor you can make from these scented, soft-needled conifers!
For birds, screening, and ease of care, you can’t go wrong ordering fantastic Yew Shrubs from NatureHills.com!