Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Yew:

            The Japanese Yew, possibly the most used shrub in the landscaping. They grow in the sun, they grow in the shade. In days past they grew to over 12 feet tall, but now most have been hybridized down to 4 to 5 feet in height and width. Others grow tall and thin, some are grown for their cone shapeness; but all can be kept pruned to whatever height and width you like.

             They don’t need much in the way of water, and pruning, if one is patient; can be a one-time chore in the middle of July.

             Green is their summer color green is its winter color, in fact green is its color all year long.

            Their primary use is as a foundation plating, a backdrop for anything shorter you’d like to park in front it, or taller, planted on either side. They offer life to the winter landscaping after all the deciduous plants have lost their leaves and look dead. They provide a haven for winter bird visiting your feeder.

            Like I said earlier, the pruning needs only to be once a year. Most people think about pruning when they see their neighbors out there hacking away on the shrubbery in June. In June the yews are still growing, and a growing yew keeps on producing new stems even if you cut them off. Come July the plant finishes its growth for the year and stops; what you cut of now won’t grow back until next year.

            A little red soft mushy berry is produced, and as a kid I was told it was poisonous; but it’s not. The hard seed in the slimy berry is, but you might crack a molar trying to bite into it. Back then we were told to stay away from anything red; red was a warning color (I just think they didn’t want us pilfering raspberries and strawberries without asking). All I knew was slimy red Yew berries were great for throwing at revel neighborhood kids.


            For those of you with horses there is a warning: “Do Not Feed the Clippings to Your Equines” they will die. Every 20 years or so you will read about someone who didn’t get the memo on this; and it serves as a reminder to the rest in the equestrian world.

            Yews are another one of those “anybody can grow them” plants. Kill one of these and you might as well rent.

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