Best choice for a Yew hedge

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by astridc, May 27, 2009.

  1. astridc

    astridc Member

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    Surrey, BC
    We are looking to plant a hedge behind an aluminum fence that will front our property in the White Rock area. I was looking at Yews as an option, but am having a hard time finding out which species might be the best choice. We ultimately would like to have the hedge obtain a height of 6 feet or more and would like it to be deep green, full and dense. We have lots of room and are not fans of really columnar specimens. It seems as if the Hicks yews are very popular for hedging here, but I have also come across Eddie's yews as well as the Irish and Japanese yews. It seems like either the Hick's yew or Eddie's yew are most likely to give the result that we are looking for, but I have found conflicting information on their growth habits and none of it is from local sources.

    Also, I am wondering what the best method for planting them would be (i.e. how far apart, reasonable starting size, what to add to the soil, when to prune, etc...). The information I have found on this is also varied.

    Finally, I know that the Hick's yew produces a red berry and that this is poisonous, as perhaps are all parts of the yew. Do all yews produce a poisonous berry and are they extremely toxic? We do have children and pets-should this prompt us to use something else for the hedge?
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Britain zone 8/9
    Yews are dioecious with separate male and female plants, so a male cultivar won't have any cones ("berries"). But yews which are trimmed as hedges tend not to produce any cones anyway, so it wouldn't be a problem. The foliage is also poisonous, but wouldn't attract consumption in the same way that the cones do.

    Better to use normal branching yews, not fastigiate cultivars like 'Hicksii'. When fastigiate cultivars are trimmed the cutting is parallel to the branches, leading to long strips of bark torn off the stems making unsightly white streaks on the hedge. I've seen lots of hedges made with fastigiate plants and they always look awful. Plants with ± horizontal branching make far better hedge plants.

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