Yews are of historic and ecomomic significance in cold temperate climates. These large evergreen shrubs to small trees are valued for their densely borne dark green needle-like leaves and tolerance to sun or shade in much of their useful range. Yews are favorites along with boxwoods (Buxus spp.) for use as sheared formal hedge or topiary plants. In Texas, yews are minor components of some landscapes in extreme Northeast Texas. Most Taxus spp. are not very heat tolerant and tend to languish in southern portions of USDA zone 7 and warmer climates. Try Podocarpus macrophyllus var. maki as an alternative for Texas landscapes.
Plant Habit or Use:
Shrub, medium shrub, large shrub, spreading conifer, upright conifer, tree, small tree, topiary
sun, partial sun, shade
Not ornamental, prodigous pollen producers
Red arils, mildly interesting
highly variable, 2 ft to 50 ft depending upon the species, cultivar, and age
2 ft to 20 ft, highly variable but most shrub forms tend to be broader than tall
USDA Hardiness Zones:
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains• Region B - North and Central Texas• Region D - West Texas
Yews require excellent drainage and should be sheltered from drying winds. Maximum cold hardiness varies among species and cultivars from USDA zone 2 to 6b. If culture is attempted in Texas, plants should be located in a shady spot, preferably along the north or northeast side of a building and provided well drained organic soil and a steady moisture supply.