How to prune yews

Q. My yews are looking a little overgrown. What’s the proper way to prune yews?

A. The proper way to prune Yews is to use hand pruners to carefully thin the branches. This will help to retain the shrub’s natural form and thick green foliage.

Shearing will cause excessive growth to form on the ends of the branches, shading out interior needles and making the plants have a woody look. After a few years of shearing, you will have a harsh formal shape (usually a box, ball, or cone depending on the operator) and no clue of its real form or texture. Plus, the interior of the shrub will be comprised of nothing but deadwood.

Pruning can be done just about any time of the year, although I personally recommending pruning in the dormant period (November to earl-/mid-April here in the Mid-Michigan area).

Evergreens are usually planted for their winter interest so let’s see what we can do about keeping that soft, lacy evergreen form twelve months a year.

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Answer Provided By ...

Jerry Somalski

Jerry is a Landscape Designer, Project Manager, and the President of Bay Landscaping. He began learning about plants and landscape design as a young boy, hoeing in the family nursery and tagging along with the landscape crews who taught him the tools and methods of the trade. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Central Michigan University, he returned to the family business. Jerry has an enthusiastic yet practical approach to landscape design, focused on choosing the right plants (ones that thrive in the mid-Michigan climate) for the right place to create sustainable and spectacular landscapes. He loves to share what he knows with gardeners throughout Michigan! Learn more about Jerry >>