The Q&A Archives: dense spreading yew

Question: The borderline of my property slopes downward and I wanted to plant some dense spreading yews to help prevent erotion. The area is only partial sun due to tree shade. It gets some morning and mid day sun. Will this yew do well? If not, any other evergreen/pine/fern type suggestions? I don't want anything that will grow too big. I'd be willing to prune and shape it.

Answer: Taxus x media 'Densiformis' grows fairly slowly to about four feet high and four to six feet wide; it does not hug the ground as groundcovers do, instead it grows upright and then outward. So I am not sure it would be the best choice for erosion control, especially on a steep bank. Low growing, spreading junipers would be more often suggested for a sunny bank as they tolerate sun and dry soil, but need at least six hours of direct sun. An evergreen groundcover that tolerates more shade and would grow on a slope would be Vinca minor. It is difficult to make specific plant suggestions without knowing more about the planting site. I would suggest you consult with your local professionally trained nurseryman and/or county extension to analyze the growing conditions where you want to plant, and identify evergreens that would thrive there. Then, make your selection from among those. Best of luck with your project!

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