How do you work out the age of a yew tree?
The most accurate way to age a tree is by counting the number of annual rings in its trunk. But in old yews, the heartwood at their centre begins to decay when they are around 400 years old, leaving them hollow, and making an accurate count of annual rings impossible.
What is the lifespan of a yew?
Yews are incredibly long lived – in fact they live for around 900 years before they become ancient. That’s compared to around 400 years for an oak tree. Ancient yews can then expect to go on thriving for thousands of years.
How old is the Ankerwycke Yew?
2,500 years old
At 2,500 years old, the Ankerwycke Yew is the National Trust’s oldest tree.
Why are yew trees planted in cemeteries?
Yew berries are poisonous to animals and so these trees were planted in graveyards so stop the animals getting at them and falling ill. Yew wood was excellent for making bows and the theory has been proposed that during the Middle Ages villages needed to have a crop of yew trees to provide archers with good long bows.
When should yews be pruned?
The best time to prune your yews is shortly before the yews start growing in spring, usually in mid- to late March in our area. There may be a window of opportunity in early April if the weather has been cold.
Why are there always yew trees in churchyards?
Yew trees were planted in graveyards as they thrived on corpses and were then readily available to make excellent bows. Yew trees were planted in churchyards to prevent archers from procuring suitable branches for making bows and thus having good weapons to oppose the King’s men.
What is the best yew for a hedge?
Densiformis yew (Taxus media ‘Densiformis’) is a good choice for hedges, grows about 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Green Wave yew (Taxus cuspidata ‘Green Wave’) forms a low, arching mound to 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide.
Do yews have invasive roots?
While the root systems of different yews vary, many have deep, widespread roots that become dense and more difficult to cut as the shrub grows. Removing these plants is somewhat more difficult because of the density but is still a manageable job for an afternoon — especially with the help of a friend.
What is the oldest yew tree in the world?
“The 60-foot-wide yew tree sits in the grounds of St Cynog’s churchyard near Swansea in Wales. Recent DNA and ring-count testing shows the tree to be more than 5,000 years old — making it older than the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Can you burn yew wood?
Yew – (Scientific Name – Taxus Baccata) Slow burn and produces a great, intense heat. Burning yew also produces a pleasant scent, which makes it stand out a little more over other woods.
Can yew be cut back hard?
You can prune healthy yews (Taxus spp.) back quite severely with no problem. You can easily reduce their size by one-half to three-quarters. Such severe pruning is best done in early spring so they have spring and summer to recover.
How do you prune an overgrown yew hedge?
To make a yew tree bushier and fuller, just clip off the outer growth. This heading cut stimulates new growth and makes the tree look rounder and fuller. Be careful not to trim the top of a yew until it has reached your preferred height plus a few inches.
Is it unlucky to cut down a yew tree?
At Easter time yew branches were/are used to decorate the churches to act as a symbol of the triumph of life over death and of life in the after world. Such was the respect given to the yew tree that it was deemed unlucky to ever cut down a churchyard yew or to cause it any damage to its branches.
How far apart should you plant yew hedging?
about 60 cms apart
Depending on plant size, space your plants at about 60 cms apart. More if they are overcrowded. Yew hedging is formal so it pays to spend time getting your lines straight and the spacing even. Unless you have the eye of a pyramid builder, use string stretched between canes to make sure you are planting straight.
How quickly does yew hedging grow?
around 30 – 40cm per annum
English Yew hedging has an average growth rate of around 30 – 40cm per annum and can be easily maintained at a height of 1 – 5m, so it’s no wonder that this ever-popular hedging plant is great for bringing privacy to your outdoor area.