How to Prune Yew Shrubs


Yew shrubs grow easily in sun or shade and are one of the easier evergreen shrubs to prune. Without regular pruning, they can grow rapidly and look "wild." Unlike other evergreen shrubs, which only form new buds on young wood, yew shrubs can be pruned back to old wood. They will then regrow back from the old wood. Pruning should be done in late winter, so the shrub fills out nicely with spring's new growth.

Step 1

Prune off branches that cross through the shrub or grow at sharp angles compared to the rest of the branches. Thin the yew shrub out by selectively removing thicker branches. You want sunlight to reach the middle of the plant.

Step 2

Trim the ends of the branches to even the yew shrub out. Strive for a shrub that is wider at the base than the top. This allows sunlight to reach the bottom, which keeps the shrub full and lush.

Step 3

Round out the top of the shrub to help with winter snow loads. A flat top can be damaged after a heavy snowfall. Trim the shrub after the new growth finishes flushing. Use a hedge trimmer to even things out to keep your yew shrub looking great all summer.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Hedge trimmers


  • Texas A&M System: Follow Proper Pruning Techniques
  • The Enquirer: When Pruning Yew, Think in V-Shape Terms
Keywords: prune yew shrubs, pruning saw, pruning shears, thin yew shrub, hedge trimmers

About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.