Yew (Taxus baccata)
Yew foliage is very poisonous to livestock, but birds and small mammals love the berries and the trees - or hedging - as a habitat. It doesn't seem to be grown much now as a specimen tree; when looking for a yew people tend to go more for the Irish variety, with its more fastigiate and tidy habit. Yew is an easy tree to grow, forgiving of even the most shady conditions and soils if not wet, although best results for a formal hedge will come if the soil is well prepared. Yew grows at half the rate of other native trees, which can be handy, and like the Ash can change sex from year to year.
History in Britain
The Yew is the most ancient of British trees. Specimens in Wales have been dated back to 4,500 year old, and it has always occupied a unique part of our mythology and culture. Its strange regenerative powers are still not understood, and it can bleed mysteriously. Yew's association with burial sites is pre-Christian, and its tough wood used from time immemorial, most famously for long-bows, for which use it was often planted. Yew woods from all over Europe were decimated to meet the English's insatiable demand for bow staves in the Middle Ages. Yew wood was used for bows from the Neolithic, but also, later, for wine barrels and ship masts; it resists the action of water very well.
Plants For Sale
Provenance certificates are available on request for our smaller Yew trees, which are from the Southwest of England. All our Yew trees are rootballed, rather than bare root, and bigger orders are delivered on pallets.
Yew suppliers: Perrie Hale Forest Nursery, R.V. Roger
Your purchase helps us support a range of charities, which are related to the products we sell.
See our planting and size guide for details and tips on planting. Our Yew trees are available for delivery from November until March. During the lifting season there may be up to two weeks delay between placing the order and dispatching, due to weather conditions or pressure of orders, which are dealt with in date sequence. Orders for Yews placed between March and September are confirmed in October ready for dispatch from November.
Time to Ultimate Height
Over 20 years
Clay, loam, sand, chalk
Neutral, acid, alkaline
Sheltered or exposed
Full shade, partial shade, full sun