yew hedges vs. cedar hedges

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by janetdoyle, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    We have what I call "cedar hedges" -- arborvitae? -- [Thuja occidentalis, 'Pyramidalis'?] round our condo grounds and the landscaper is suggesting yew in an area where the cedars seem to be dying out... a bit shady now under overgrown firs and pines... and pointed out another hedge down the street which he said was Yew, and which would do better maybe...

    I went to look, and it looked exactly like a cedar/cypress/arborvitae as above, to me... is there a Yew whose leaves/branch-ends look like arborvitae?

    I looked up Yew on the web and they seem to have needles... I don't have time to go on a long hunt, am curious, is there a type of Yew which resembles Thuja?
     
  2. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    AFAIK there is not a type of yew that could be confused with Thuja. The leaves are flat, straight and long, approximately 2-3mm by 20mm, similar to, but a bit wider than Douglas fir for example. Common Yew (Taxus baccata) is used for hedging over here, but even if they use one of the other species in Canada they are closely related and look similar.

    Yew is the best species for a coniferous hedge in my opinion, one of the major advantages being that it will sprout from bare wood if pruned hard. Also it looks a lot nicer close up than the inherantly ugly Thuja.

    If the area is very shady and dry under the pines and firs then the yew will not do well either.
     
  3. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you -- I am sort of two minds as to what to do about it -- parts of the hedging is fine, but closer to the now large trees it isn't, owing to root structure and dryness, I suppose, plus having been planted on a bit of a berm to separate the property from the sidewalk, many years ago... thanks for your reply, I didn't think the second hedge was Yew, I have found several instances of incorrect info re plants in this situation where the person whose job it is should know... otherwise a very good and knowledgable professional... I did a Web search and saw the form of the needles, and several sites say white-tailed deer eat them readily. We have lots of deer around us, not sure if they are white-tailed or not, can't remember... Does anyone out there know if our local Vancouver Island deer eat yew? No point planting it if they do...
     
  4. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Glad that helped a little.
    It's hard to imagine the situation without a picture, are the trees planted on the same line as the hedge or some distance away? Are they limbed up?

    Yew is highly poisonous to most mammals so I wouldn't worry about the deer ruining it.
     
  5. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    The arborvitae hedge is planted in line with the trees, on a raised berm [silly idea that, but most of the plantings have survived since this property was apparently developed in 1985 or so] and there is an irrigation system for it. It is possible it has failed in that spot. The arborvitae which is failing are the plantings closest to a group of pines, I think they are... maybe a few fir. The trees are limbed up enough, I think. There are no children around, other than on the sidewalk below, considering that Yew would be poisonous if used to replace them. The hedging there is behind a sort of open park grassy area so it is not screening someone's patio or back yard, therefore we could just take the old cedar hedging down at the end they are failing at, and not replace them. We could use some Yew though at the other end of the hedge line where the growth is not so high on a berm and it wouldn't get so dry and we do need the screening... Thanks a lot, I'll send some photos shortly...
     
  6. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Oops, seems like deer can break down the toxins in yew and do actually browse on it. Apologies for the misinformation. They also eat Thuja, if that survives the deer maybe the yew would too? (Once it was established)
     

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