It is often said that conifers are ideal hedge plants. They are tall-growing, evergreen and opaque. Therefore, for some garden owners it is surprising that there are quite different varieties of conifers. But what exactly distinguishes these varieties? We are therefore happy to inform you about the yew compared to other conifers.
The properties of yew
Yew is definitely conifers, which can form optimal conifer hedges. This has long been known among garden owners. This is mainly due to the fact that yew has all the qualities that a good hedge plant needs. Yew is evergreen and it has a compact growth habit, which makes it easy to prune into a tight shape. In addition, this plant also grows quickly in height. To keep the yew low, you should prune it back regularly. However, if yews continue to grow without pruning, they can quickly reach several feet in height. This makes this hedge plant extremely versatile and well suited for use as a tall hedge or as a low hedge.
One of the most striking features of yew is the fact that the female variety of this hedge plant develops bright red berries in the fall. It is then often claimed that these berries are poisonous, but this is not quite true. In fact, all parts of the plant of yew are poisonous, while the pulp of the berries is not. However, this does not mean that these berries can be eaten, because the seeds in the berries are still extremely poisonous. So you should stay away from all parts of the yew plant if possible. Do you have curious children or pets? Then a yew may not be the best hedge plant option for your yard.
The yew is a needle-like conifer, quite unlike the thuja, mock cypress or Leyland cypress. Conifers have leaves that are curled into tight needles, giving them sharper leaf tips than the scale leaves of other conifers. The yew tree is also dioecious. This means that the male trees fertilize the female trees, allowing the female trees to produce red berries. So with yew, you should always consider buying male hedge plants or female hedge plants. However, you don’t need to worry about this with other conifers. However, make sure that you need both varieties so that fertilization of female yew can occur.
Is the yew tree suitable for your garden?
The short answer to this question is almost always “yes”. If you are looking for a versatile evergreen hedge plant that has a compact growth habit and is easy to care for, then the yew is definitely a good fit. Yew can also easily grow into a large tree, but since this hedge plant has a slow growth rate, it also only needs to be pruned once or twice a year to keep its shape well. Even if you forget to prune it in between times, then this is not a big problem for the yew. In fact, unlike other conifers, old yew wood can always sprout again.
We have already mentioned that yew is not a suitable hedge plant for a garden where children or pets often stay, because the red, but at the same time poisonous berries look tempting. However, if you would still like to have a conifer hedge in your garden, but are afraid that your children or pets will not be able to resist the lure of these red berries, then you should opt for other conifer varieties. Although other conifers should not be put in your mouth either (this is actually true for almost all, evergreen hedge plants), but they do not produce tempting berries. A thuja hedge or a Leyland cypress hedge are then better options for the garden.
However, the most important question here is as follows: are yews better than other conifers? Yew is probably the most versatile and low-maintenance variety among conifers. For garden owners who are a little less active in the garden, yew is therefore a reliable option. However, this also makes the yew a welcome guest in many European gardens. Therefore, if you are looking for fancy hedge plants, these plants are a better option, for example: the environmental redwood or the Japanese larch. These conifers are a little more demanding to make them pretty hedges, but for that they always have a unique look.
Properly care for the yew
As already mentioned, the yew is a very low-maintenance hedge plant. Conifers are generally hardy plants, so they can take good care of themselves. A yew hedge can therefore be planted almost anywhere, because yews can grow well in the sun, in partial shade or even in the shade. Yew can even thrive in unfavorable regions, think here, for example, gardens near the coast. Make sure that your yew hedge gets enough water in the first few weeks after planting so that it can root well. After this initial period, you will only need to water your yew hedge during prolonged dry spells.
Pruning yew is also very easy. This is because yew is exceptionally resistant to pruning, and what’s more, even old yew wood can always sprout again after being cut back. This means that yews can be much more forgiving after a mispruning than other conifers. Yews are especially useful for forming formal hedges. Sometimes they are even used for topiary because yews are so heavily branched, giving them a particularly compact growth habit. For particularly straight hedges, large hedge trimmers or even electric hedge trimmers should be used. This will allow larger areas of your hedge to be trimmed back wonderfully straight and neat at once.
The yew tree is well hardy. This means that no special measures need to be taken in winter to protect your yew from cold or frost. By the way, this is true for almost all conifers. Indeed, conifers originally come from cold regions, so they are well prepared for frosty temperatures. So, compared to other conifers, yew is an ideal hedge plant that takes little time.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.