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The Best Time to Trim Yew Hedges

By Kimberly Sharpe
The yew hedge can be pruned and sheared into elaborate shapes.
garden decoration in front of yew hedge image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com

Allowed to grow, a yew (Taxus baccata) grows to a height of approximately 50 feet in a pyramid shape. A popular specimen, the yew has been used for centuries as a beloved hedge. In England and Wales, many yew are over 3,000 years old.


The yew has the ability to withstand shearing in many shapes and form. Shearing removes the outer edges of all the branches uniformly to attain a desired shape, size or structure. Many are sheared and formed into elaborate topiary art or unique, twisting hedges.

Pruning and Shearing Time Frame

Shear and prune a yew tree in the late winter or early spring. Begin pruning prior to new growth commencing and as soon as the soil is no longer frozen for best results. Refrain from pruning a grown yew tree past the middle of June, because late season pruning removes the tree's new growth.


Clip the sides of newly planted yews to maintain their overall appearance and encourage the young plants to grow bushier. Avoid clipping the top of the yew until it has reached the desired height because clipping its growing tip will slow the shrub's growth down radically.


About the Author


Based in Oregon, Kimberly Sharpe has been a writer since 2006. She writes for numerous online publications. Her writing has a strong focus on home improvement, gardening, parenting, pets and travel. She has traveled extensively to such places as India and Sri Lanka to widen and enhance her writing and knowledge base.