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Discover How To Prune Yew This Winter

Discover How To Prune Yew This Winter

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Although winter isn’t a season for many gardening chores, there are some you shouldn’t skip. If you grow yew trees, you should know pruning is one of their basic requirements. 

These trees respond well to pruning and, if you do it correctly and on time, they’ll be happier and healthier in the season that follows. 

Yew species look amazing in outdoor gardens and, if you want to unlock their full potential, you should do some trimming. 

I’ll show you how to prune yew this winter and you’ll also see the main benefits of this gardening technique. 

Let’s get started!

How To Prune A Yew Hedge

Yew species are one of the best low-maintenance hedging plants. By pruning them, we not only encourage bloom production but it also allows us to get the desired form.

First, let’s discuss the tools required to prune your yews. You’re gonna need a hedge trimmer and gardening gloves because these plants are considered poisonous. (1)

When trimming your yew hedge, you basically remove the edges of the leaves to make a wall. Each trim will encourage the formation of new shoots, which will result in bushier growth.

Some gardeners suggest leaving the higher section of your yew hedge slightly narrower than the bottom one. The main purpose of this approach is to allow the plant to receive more light and grow healthier.

Remember that heavier pruning of yew species is required only if the plants become unruly

The Best Time To Prune A Yew Hedge

Many gardeners choose spring to prune yew plants, but pruning them in winter may also give good results. It will help you avoid extremely hot temperatures and damp conditions

Leaf scorch and blight may occur in these plant species, so we should never prune them in the heat of the summer.

But there’s one more reason why pruning yews in January or February is a good idea. According to recent research, a wide variety of bird species now create their nests earlier than before. (2) 

Climate change has disrupted their natural cycle, so they may visit your garden earlier and look for a safe spot. 

Once birds nest, it’s not a good idea to disturb them. To avoid this, you should prune your yew hedge in the cooler months.

If you want a spectacular garden display next year, a yew hedge is the best way to go. Encouraging its growth by pruning it in winter will help you keep these plants happy and healthy throughout the season. 


1. Toxicity of yew wood and roots. (n.d.).

2. Trust, W. (2019, January 17). When do birds nest? 7 of the earliest nesters. Woodland Trust.