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All About Hicks Yew Hedges

All About Hicks Yew Hedges

By Stephanie Pratt, InstantHedge
Photographs courtesy of InstantHedge

Yew hedges are among some of the oldest and best-loved hedges in the world. They can be found all over Europe, trimmed into immaculate and creative shapes. Their deep green year-round color provides an ideal backdrop and screen for any garden. Newer varieties of yew provide some additional benefits above the classic species, and Hicks yew (Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’) is a favorite of many landscapers and gardeners today. Here are some reasons why a Hicks yew hedge could be the perfect fit for your garden.

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1. Shade

Yew is the champion of different hedges for growing well in deep shade. Even better? It can also grow in full sun! This makes it extremely versatile for planting locations, as it is suitable for long stretches that include both sections of deep shade and hot sun. Other hedges can usually tolerate full sun to partial shade, but none perform as well in full shade as the yew.

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2. Narrow

Hicks yew was selected for its incredibly narrow growth habit, making it perfect for growing in smaller gardens and narrow spaces. Without any pruning, Hicks yew would grow into a tall column about 8’ tall by 2’ wide at 10 years old. With consistent pruning as a hedge, you could easily maintain it anywhere from 3’ tall to 10’ tall over time, with the width reaching no more than 2’.

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3. Hardy

This variety is hardy down to USDA Zone 5, making it suitable for a huge portion of the United States. It tolerates snow in winter quite well. Hicks yew also grows well in urban conditions including salt and pollution, so it is a very tough plant. The only thing it does not like is overly wet or poor-draining soil, so be sure to install in a well-drained site. Hicks yew has great longevity, so you can plan on a hedge lasting for many years.

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4. Evergreen

Hicks yew has a lovely, deep green color all year, so it provides a great evergreen screen. The needles are thick and pointed, lending texture. It also boasts bright red arils in late summer and fall for some beautiful contrast. 

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5. Low-maintenance

Since this yew has such a narrow growth habit, it requires very little, if any, pruning on the sides. It grows upright about 6-8” per year, so a light pruning to even the top out is all that is needed. Applying mulch around the root zone yearly and a slow-release fertilizer each spring will help get the best growth out of your Hicks yew hedge. You can start your hedge with small starter plants or a finished InstantHedge or MiniHedge to get a head-start.

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