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Yew: types and varieties, tips on care and cultivation

Among all the types of yews, the most popular are berry (or European), Canadian, short-leaved and Far Eastern (pointed). Despite their relatively slow growth, these plants are considered ideal crops to create green fences, as they have densely planted branches with dense pubescence of dark green color, which does not lose its color saturation even in winter.

Tees (Taxus) belongs to the Yew family (Tahasea). The genus includes about 8 related species growing in the undergrowth of the temperate warm and subtropical zones of the Northern Hemisphere. The description of yew trees of different species is so similar that some botanists believe that all of them are just geographic varieties of one main species, Taxus baccata.

On this page you will learn what different kinds of yews look like and get tips on growing these plants in the garden.

What are yew trees and the use of trees in landscape design (with photos)

Yew-trees are evergreen densely branched trees or shrubs 5-20 m high with thick-haired trunks covered with reddish-brown bark and dense rounded crown. Twigs yews flexible and resilient, branches are green and resilient. Tree needles yew is dark green, linear-needle, length 1-3 cm, dense, glossy. On the vertical shoots the needles are tightly and spirally, on the side shoots - two-row-comb. There are no tar canals in the leaves, and this essentially distinguishes the yews from other conifers.

All types of yews are dioecious, in plants, male and female individuals exist separately, but there are cases of monoecious plants. The pollen on the male plants is enclosed in microstrobes, located in the axils of the leaves at the ends of the shoots, they are spherical, solitary, and are assembled in 6-14 heads. Plain single female "flowers" hidden tiny leafy scales.

As seen in the photo, the seeds of the plant are yew-shaped, slightly ribbed, enclosed in a fleshy scarlet-red bell-shaped shell:

Yews are slow-growing, but long-living plants. The age of old copies can reach 4000 years. Wood ("mahogany") - the most valuable material for furniture production. The beauty of wood, combined with ease of processing, led to the massive destruction of yew. Natural plantings of this unique plant are protected. All parts of the yew, especially the leaves and young shoots, are poisonous, because they contain the alkaloid taxin.

Unpretentiousness, unusual appearance and rather high cold endurance of yews makes them a very valuable element of design not only southern but also northern gardens.
Without yews, it is impossible to imagine any garden made in a regular style.

It is no exaggeration to say that it is the boxwood and yew in landscape design that largely determine the style of "formal" gardens.

When used in the compositions of the northern gardens, yews bring in a hue of southern color and play the role of exotic aliens. The most effective arrangement is in groups with rhododendrons and conifers of a different type of foliage. Despite the fact that yew is one of the best plants for curly hairstyle, they are not suitable for this in regions with frosty winters. Even with an air-dry shelter, hard-edged figures, if not frozen, are partially thrown out.

See how the yews are used in landscape design on these photos:

Then you can get acquainted with the most popular species and varieties of yew.

Yew berry (ordinary): photo and description of varieties

Yew berry (Taxus baccata) sometimes called yew ordinary or European.

Type species of the genus growing in the undergrowth of mixed mountain forests of Western Europe. In nature, it is very rare, but it has a wide range, meeting with individual foci in Western Ukraine and Belarus, in the Southern Crimea and the Caucasus, in the mountains of Algeria, Asia Minor and Syria.

Under natural conditions - a tree with a height of 12-20 m with an uneven rounded crown. In culture - the most common species that has numerous varieties of different types of growth and crown shape. Many of them, due to poor tolerance to the sun, burn significantly in the spring, especially in the first years after planting.

Recommended varieties of yew berry:

Taxus baccata David.

Mini-variety of yew berry. Narrow columnar form. The needles are small, green, yellowing after vegetation. Annual increments 3-4, see Fully frost-resistant. Lightweight shading is desirable.

Taxus baccata Elegantissima.

Dwarf yew berry. Vase form. The needles are green, turning yellow after vegetation. Annual gains of this variety yew within 10-15, see Fully frost-resistant. Lightweight shading is desirable.

Taxus baccata Fastigiata Micro.

Micro-grade yew berry. Very narrow columnar shape.

Pay attention to the photo - the needles of this sort of berry yew are small, green:

Annual increments 1-3 cm, Fully frost-resistant. Lightweight shading is desirable.

Taxus baccata Goldener Zwerg.

Mini-variety of yew berry. Narrow columnar form. The needles are small, green, yellowing after vegetation. Annual increments 3-4 cm, Fully frost-resistant.

Taxus baccata Summergold.

Dwarf yew berry. The creeping form, Needles are green, the increments turn yellow after the growing season. Annual increments within 15 see. When describing this variety of berry yew, it is worth noting its increased frost resistance. Lightweight shading is desirable. All other species and their garden cultivars have not found wide application in the gardens of the northern temperate zone of Russia.

These photos demonstrate the varieties of yew berry described above:

Types of yew: short-leaved, Canadian and spiky (with photo)

Taxus brevifolia For any inquiries, We're here to answer you. Yew is short

It grows in the west of North America. In the south, it grows in the mountains at an altitude of 1500-2500 m, in the north - along river banks, in the near-lake lowlands and on low mountain slopes.

A slow-growing, often multi-stemmed tree 5-15 m in height with a dense, wide-pinned crown. Young twigs slightly drooping. In the northern part of the range and under adverse conditions takes the form of creeping shrubs. The seed coat is intensely red.

Тaxus canadensis - Canadian tis.

It grows in the undergrowth of coniferous forests on the mountain slopes in Eastern North America. Low body or wide shrub with a loose crown, rarely rising above 1 m, but reaching a width of 3-4 m.

As shown in the photo, the needles of this type of yew for the winter acquires a reddish-brown color:

In comparison with other species, the genus is less decorative, but it is distinguished by exceptional frost resistance. Cultivars of this type are very valuable for the gardens of the northern regions.

Taxus cuspidata - Yew spiky or Far Eastern.

A close relative of the yew berry, found in relict coniferous-deciduous forests of the Far East.

A tree or large shrub reaching a height of 15-20 m, with a dense spreading crown. In places with unfavorable growth conditions, it acquires a creeping form. The bark is smooth red-brown. The wood is light red, which is why it is called “rosewood” in furniture production. Needles have at the end of a small pointed spike, which gave the name to the species.

On these photos are presented species of yew, with a description of which you have read above:

Planting and maintenance of evergreen yews in the open field

Evergreen yew trees - shade-tolerant plants. In regions with mild winters, they successfully grow in open sunny places, but in a more severe climate they suffer from cold winter winds, so a protected landing site is preferable for them.

For successful planting and maintenance of yews in the open field you need to ensure the plants fertile loamy soil. On loose poor sandy soils grow very slowly, but it is better to overwinter because of the rapid thawing of the soil in spring. When planting and caring for young yew trees, it is advisable to add a small amount of coniferous forest land to the soil, since it contains soil fungi that organize connections with the yew roots and provide it with additional nutrition with nitrogen and microelements.

Adult copies do not require fertilizing. Moreover, fertilizing with concentrated mineral or fresh organic fertilizers can lead to the death of mycorrhiza and stunted growth until renewed links between roots and soil fungi.

The yew transfer is easy to transplant, but it should not be performed during the period of active growth of young shoots. The best moments for a transplant are spring or early summer. For autumn planting, only specimens with a dense root ball or grown in containers are suitable. Deepening of the root collar is possible, but undesirable. For transplantation of large specimens, preliminary preparation of the root coma for 6-12 months before the intended transplant is necessary.

When growing yews, do not forget that they are moisture-loving only during the period of active growth. Adult, well-developed plants are drought-resistant. The presence of nearby groundwater is detrimental to them.

The frost resistance of yews in the North-West and Central regions of Russia depends on the planting place and variety. Short frost up to - 30 ... -35 ° C they carry easily even in open places.

Successfully overwinter plants planted on the leeward side of buildings or protected from cold wind by other plants in group plantings. In practice, trees growing in open places always freeze slightly, and those that grow in the shade overwinter without shelter. Young plants successfully preserved under snow cover. Varieties that have a free-standing crown are preferable to densely columnar and pyramidal, since the latter always freeze over the tops, and this does not correspond to the characteristics of the variety. Among natural forms, Taxus cuspidata is the most frost resistant - yew pointed and Taxus canadensis is Canadian yew.

When caring for yews during cultivation for the prevention of freezing of all forms, it is recommended to mulch and cover the zone of the root system with earth and fallen leaf. For plants planted in open, wind-blown places, preferably air-dry shelter. The best option is to install a skeleton of dense mesh, over which coniferous spruce branches are laid, and in strong frosts they also fix the warming fabric and throw snow. Remove the winter shelter gradually and be sure to shade the plants in order to avoid sunburn. For uniform awakening requires abundant watering. Particularly important when watering the maintenance of yew for weakened and frostbitten specimens.

Propagation of yew seeds and cuttings

Seed reproduction. The seeds of yews lose their germination very quickly - after a year of storage in the heat they are not suitable for germination. Collect the seeds should be in the autumn, as soon as the fleshy integuments of the fruit turn red. To improve germination, they must be removed from the fruit and washed. Seed integuments are very hard, and germination is difficult without breaking them. For yews, the best method of scarification is chemical, in which dry seeds are placed on 30 minutes in sulfuric acid, and then carefully washed. After this treatment, the seeds are sown in open ground, where they germinate throughout the year.

A more efficient way is combining scarification and cold stratification. After acid treatment and washing, the seeds are mixed with coarse clean, slightly wet sand, sawdust, or sphagnum moss, placed in plastic bags and stored for months at a temperature of + 4 ... + 6 ° C for 4-5.

In the spring, the seeds are washed again and sown in boxes or bowls. In the light, at a temperature of + 18 ... + 23 ° C, the seedlings germinate. Shoots protect from direct sunlight and moderately watered. Too thick shoots dive. Seedlings develop very slowly, but transplantation is easily tolerated. Upon the onset of heat, they are taken out into the garden, quenched, and then planted in the ridge for growing.

If the yew seed covers do not break, the germination will be delayed by the 1-2 of the year. Such a long period is explained by the fact that the seed germ is “asleep” - it is at rest. For the "pre-development" and the awakening of the seed, an alternation of warm and cold periods is necessary. This is the basis of another proposed method of sprouting yew seeds, which creates ideal conditions for the awakening of the embryo.

Immediately after collecting and cleaning the seeds, they are mixed with coarse clean, slightly wet sand, sawdust or sphagnum moss, placed in plastic bags and stored for 3 months at a temperature of + 20 ... + 25 С. During this period, the destruction of the integument and the awakening of the seed germ.

Then, during the 4 months, bags of seeds are kept in the refrigerator or basement at + 4 ... + 5 C, where the germ is “developed” and prepared for germination. At this time, it is necessary to maintain an even moderate level of substrate moisture and avoid temperature fluctuations. After stratification, seeds are sown and germinated in warm light.

Vegetative reproduction. One of the simplest, but at the same time the least productive way of vegetative propagation of yew trees is horizontal cuttings. Its advantage is that it does not damage the mother plant, the disadvantage is to obtain plants with an “irregular” crown shape. That is why horizontal layering is good only for bush and creeping forms. Rooting a yew in this way takes place over the course of 3-6 months, but one should not rush to separate the branch from the parent plant. It is advisable to transfer the branch to its own roots in stages, gradually cutting the junction.

Cuttings. Not all yews are equally easily propagated by cuttings. Well rooted cuttings from young varietal plants. Even better rooted cuttings, taken from plants with dense densely branched type of crown. The cuttings of “wild” species, especially those taken from old specimens, form roots worse.

When propagated by cuttings, yews are capable of rooting throughout the year, but the best time for this is spring before the start of budding and summer after the end of the first wave of growth. Spring cutting is preferable, because summer cuttings do not always have time to form roots and overwinter only with the influx of callus, and this threatens to freeze.

It is best to cut the side branches on the cuttings that are torn from the main shoot with a “heel”. The size of the cuttings may be different depending on the strength of the growth of the multiplied specimen. When creating good conditions, yews can also be rooted in large shoots.

Chopped cuttings are fixed in a loose, well-aerated substrate consisting of clean, coarse sand, to which is added perlite, vermiculite, high sour peat, or finely chopped sifted coniferous bark. For yew cuttings, the addition of “forest” components to the substrate is more important than for other conifers — its roots have mycorrhizal connections with soil fungi.

Do not forget about maintaining the same orientation of the cuttings - they can not be turned upside down with the back of a branch.

High air humidity, moderate soil moisture, even temperature (first, before bud break, + 16 ... + 18ᵒC, and then + 20 ... + 23 ° С) and sufficient diffused light - these are the components of success in grafting. Excellent results in rooting yews gives a weak heating of the soil.

Well-established plants overwinter without shelter. Weakly rooted or live unrooted cuttings can overwinter with air-dry shelter. Cuttings, rooted not in the ground, but in boxes, are dug into the ground along with the boxes and covered with spruce leaves or stored in bright cold greenhouses or rooms until spring.

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