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Pruning Yews

I have yew bushes that are about 5-6 feet tall in front of the living room windows of a home we just purchased. The yews must be quite old as the bases are rather large. The previous owner kept the yews pruned in a single box shape, which I am not fond of. There is new growth around the base and up about a foot from the ground. My question is, is it possible to prune the yews down to the new growth and let them grow again looking more natural, but keeping them only about 3-4 feet tall? And would this be a good time to prune them? Thank you, karen carlson


Hi Karen

Yes this would be the right time to prune. However, you may want to stall your shears just until the first flush of growth comes out this spring.

If you fertilize now and wait for the first flush of growth to come out it will give you more of an idea of what you will have to work with. When the new growth hardens off after about two weeks then you can stand back and see how you want to shape your yews.

If they appear too leggy and have too many bare places at the base you may want to do one of two things.

Either remove the yew altogether, or bring your planting bed out and put some low growing plants in front to hide the gap at the base of the yews.

Sometimes you can revive and older established planting, and sometimes it is just better to start over.

Kind Regards

Steve Jones

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