How Often Should You Water a Yew Hedge?

Yews are one of the most popular plants for hedging, as they are tough, hardy, and quickly grow to form a dense hedge. Depending on the variety, Yew is reliably winter hardy as far north as zone 2. They’re a great choice wherever you want a barrier that not only gives you privacy but also adds an extra dimension of green to your landscape.

One of the great things about Yew hedges is that they do not need a lot of watering. Once the shrubs are established, you will only need to water them every 7 to 10 days when there has been no rainfall.

How to Tell if Yew Hedge Needs Water?

Because Yews are conifers with stiff needles that won’t droop, even when short on water, it will take a long time for you to notice signs that it needs watering. The best way to gauge the need for water is by checking the soil.

A soil meter is a great help because it will measure the moisture level a foot or more under the surface. If it’s dry down to the root level, it’s time to water.

How Do You Know When Your Yew Hedge is Sufficiently Watered?

The best way to water a Yew hedge is by placing a soaker hose along its entire length and leaving it to run for 2 to 4 hours. The water will drip slowly out of the hose and permeate the soil rather than running off. If you wish, you can test the soil again with a moisture meter to make sure that the water has gone down far enough.

Can You Overwater Yew Hedge?

While Yews need some moisture to grow their best, too much water can seriously damage the plants. The roots need to be able to breathe, or they may rot, killing your yew hedge.

What are Signs of an Overwatered Yew Hedge?

If the needles on your Yews start to turn yellow and drop off, it’s a good bet that the plants have developed root rot from standing in consistently wet soil.

How Long Can a Yew Hedge Go Without Water?

A Yew hedge is moderately drought-resistant, and will survive a week or more of drought conditions without supplementary watering. Mulching the soil around each plant can slow down the drying out of the soil and give you a few more days before they need watering.

What are Signs of an Overwatered Yew Hedge

Should Yew Hedge Soil Be Moist?

Ideally, Yew hedge soil should be fairly consistently moist without ever being sopping wet. Unless your soil is a perfect loam, you need to amend it before planting your Yew hedge.

If the soil is sandy or heavy clay, dig in lots of organic matter such as peat moss or well-rotted compost to improve the soil structure.

Why is my Yew Hedge Turning Brown/Yellow?

If your Yew hedge is turning yellow, it’s probably sitting in too-wet soil. Cut back on your watering schedule to let the soil dry out, and try to work some organic matter gently into the ground so improve the draining capacity of the soil.

Yews are extremely sensitive to salts, so when they’re exposed to ice-melting salt spread on roads, driveways, or walkways, the foliage can suffer, which usually shows up as browning. Situate your Yew hedge in a location where salty slush will not get splashed onto it.

Brown needles can also be caused by wind burn in cold winters. If your hedge is growing in an exposed location, you may need to wrap it in burlap to keep the foliage from drying out.

Does a Yew Hedge Need Fertilizer?

A Yew hedge only needs to be fed once a year in early spring. The best fertilizer is well-rotted compost applied to the surface, starting about a foot from the stem, and extending out as far as the furthest branches.

If you don’t have access to quality compost, sprinkle a balanced slow-release granular fertilizer in the same way, and gently rake it into the soil surface.

How Much Sunlight Does a Yew Hedge Need?

Yew hedges will grow best with several hours of sunlight a day, but they can adapt to semi or full shade with great success.

Will Temperatures and Humidity Affect a Yew Hedge?

Native to the temperate zone from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia, Yews do best in moderate temperatures. When grown in extremely hot climates, they will need more watering to help them through the summer months.

However, they are very tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels.

Will a Yew Hedge Survive in the Winter?

Depending on the variety, your Yew hedge can easily survive even very cold winters. If you live in zones 2 or 3 check first to make sure that the ones you choose are hardy in your region.

Will a Yew Hedge Survive in Direct Sunlight?

A Yew hedge will thrive in full sun, but in extremely hot locations it’s best to plant it where it will get some afternoon shade.

Final Thoughts

A well-planted and maintained Yew hedge can last for many lifetimes, so it’s worth taking the time to give it the ideal conditions that will let it thrive. Luckily, it’s relatively drought-resistant, so it will survive some periods of neglect.

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