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Common Name:

Yews

Scientific Name:

Taxus spp.

Family Name:

Taxaceae

Description:

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

Exposure:

sun, partial sun, shade

Flower Color:

Not ornamental, prodigous pollen producers

Blooming Period:

Spring

Fruit Characteristics:

Red arils, mildly interesting

Height:

highly variable, 2 ft to 50 ft depending upon the species, cultivar, and age

Width:

2 ft to 20 ft, highly variable but most shrub forms tend to be broader than tall

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Low Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Medium Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Medium Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Medium Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

5.00
Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region D - West Texas
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

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.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.