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Pruning help yew

I have 2 very large out of shape yew trees at the front of the house which are 10ft tall x8ft wide. They are decades old with broken wiring that used to hold th trees in a ball shape. They are so big I feel overwhelmed about how and when to prune them and wondered if anyone has any advice. As a last resort I. Am considering cutting them down but as many birds nest in their dark interior each year am loathe to do this but need to get them under control. What time of year and how small can I cut them to as bare branches will look unpleasant in front of the house whilst regrowth ?happens. Any help gratefully received


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,719

    depends how much you want to reduce them. If just a little, I'd do it now. 

    If it's major, I'd leave it until spring.

  • Thank you for your reply I need to reduce them by 5-6 ft as they are always too tall to deal with and a job I have never tackled as overwhelmed by size... 

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,719

    Leave it until Spring.

    If you can bear the look of it. Do half one year and leave the other half until the following year. That way the foliage  on the uncut half can carry on feeding the plant.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,740

    If you're leaving until spring just ensure that there are no birds nesting in it. 

    You may find this video interesting

    I saw a similar regeneration technique carried out on two large yews in the churchyard opposite my mother in law's home.  A few years on and the yews are wonderful, about 10ft tall and you'd never suspect that they'd been cut back so hard. 



    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • TootlesTootles Posts: 1,469

    Hope you manage to tame them oldkenlady. I've been looking for a couple of yews to train into balls and they don't come cheap. Alan Titchmarsh has a row if them in his garden in lovely big pots. 



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    Thank you for your suggestion .Those yew trees look beautiful ! mine look a million miles away from that possibility as you will see...

  • TootlesTootles Posts: 1,469

    Wow! It's huge! It looks very healthy!  Love the difference in colour from the top new growth to the dark lower growth.

    Good luck with that whopper!

    keep us posted on how you get on. Would love to see how you get on with it. 

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