How to Cut Yew Shrubs

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Yews are a type of evergreen shrub often found in modern landscaping; they are characterized by their bushy, dark green needles. During the spring and summer months, yew shrubs can put on a considerable amount of new growth, which can make the plants look unkempt or cause them to take up too much space. It is a good idea to trim back yew shrubs periodically by cutting down new growth.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Manual hedge trimmer
  • Pruning shears
  • Rake
  • Leaf bag

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  1. 1

    Use a manual hedge trimmer to cut new growth of the yew back to a uniform length. The length of new growth may vary on different parts of the same plant, so you might have to cut back growth a little more on some parts than others to make the trim uniform.

  2. 2

    Assess the plant's size after the trimming and shorten the growth further if necessary. You can safely cut new growth back to the woody parts of the plant.

  3. 3

    Use pruning shears to cut off and remove any dead branches in the yew. Dead parts will have brown needles or no needles at all. When you make a cut to remove a branch, cut as close as possible to the first healthy branch it is connected to.

  4. 4

    Use a rake to gather up the cuttings of new growth and dead branches.

  5. 5

    Place the cuttings in a leaf bag for disposal.

Tips and warnings

  • Yews can be shaped to some extent by cutting new growth to different lengths; different types of yews have different levels of thickness. Thicker growing shrubs are better for shaping.
  • Yews and other evergreen needle-bearing plants tend to grow well when given acid-based plant food.
  • Yews can be pruned back to the woody growth to reduce their size, but this can be hard on the plant.

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