The Q&A Archives: Pruning Yews

Question: I have recently purchased a house in which the yard had been neglected and the yews are out of control & need to be cut all the down. When is the best time to do this?

Thank You,
Roy Pistey

Answer: Left unpruned, yews have a very graceful habit. The branches have a natural arch to them, giving the plant an overall soft appearance. If you prefer a more formal look, yews can be trimmed. Trim them in the early summer as the new growth fades from bright green to dark green. Yews often put out a second flush of growth in mid-season. To keep their neat appearance, they can also be pruned again in mid-August. With the exception of yews, evergreens should never be pruned back hard into bare wood. While we wouldn't advise any drastic pruning, yews are better about filling in a bare area than any other evergreen. Keep in mind whenever you prune, that yews are very slow growing.

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