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Untidy yew hedge

I have inherited an untidy yew hedge which has been neglected for some time.  There is greenery on the outside but the inside of the hedge which is about 2.5 feet wide in places is completely dead.  I have been considering taking it right back to the trunk in the hope that it may grow denser and therefore look better eventually. Other than that I don’t really know what to do with it. Any help / suggestions greatly received.  Removing it isn’t an option by the way. 


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,557
    August is the ideal time to cut yew.
    A light trim all over and a good feed/ mulch / water will pay dividends and encourage new growth.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,097
    edited August 2018
    The inside of all yew hedges looks dead ...  This is a huge yew hedge at Blickling Hall in Norfolk

    and this is what it looks like beneath the surface greenery which is just a couple of inches thick if that

    So don't worry about it being 'dead inside' ... that is perfectly natural and as it should be ... and it will provide wrens and robins etc with marvellous shelter during the winter.

    In the meantime you can cut your hedge right back close to the trunk if you want to ... it'll soon regrow ... but as @Hostafan1 has said, a good trim, followed by a feed (Fish Blood and Bone will be great)  followed a good watering (this suimmer's drought has effected everything) and then by mulching with some organic matter and it'll soon  be a great hedge ... then just regular trimming will keep it looking great.

    When you trim it try to shape it so that it's slightly 'A' shaped ... a little wider at the bottom than at the top ... that the bottom of the hedge gets as much sunlight as the top and the growth will be more even, rather than having a hedge with 'bare legs'  ;) 

    A yew hedge is, in my opinion, absolutely the best hedge you can have ... you're very lucky ... I envy you.  :)

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645
    Yew hedges can be lovely when well looked after and they respond well to a thorough hacking but you should do one side one year and the following side the next so it doesn't get too stressed.

    Cut yours back as hard as you need to get the size and shape you want then give it a good drink and maybe some bonemeal which will promote root and plant health but not soft sappy new growth which will be damaged by winter frosts.   Next spring, give it a good general feed of blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure.

    The RHS says spring is the best time to renovate a yew hedge so maybe for now just give it a good trim to tidy it up -

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Irene33Irene33 Posts: 2
    Thank you all for your advice, Which I will take on board. The back of the hedge is in a car park so I will give that a fairly hard cut as requested by the car park owners but on my garden side I will try to reshape and feed and hopefully will end up with a decent looking hedge at some point in the future.  
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