Hicks yew in rectangular pot


I have 2 hicks yew in a rectangular planter on a south east 8th floor terrace.
We get a lot of wind from Lake Ontario (Toronto).
Do I need to burlap and mulch this over winter? I cannot move these pots closer to our condo, there is no over head protection.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank you


Thank you for your question to Toronto Master Gardeners about winter care for Hicks yew shrubs (Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’) on your balcony.

Winter burn (resulting in browning and/or loss of needles) can occur when evergreens lose moisture through transpiration faster than their roots can replace it from the frozen ground, and yews are particularly susceptible.  (Missouri Botanical Garden) We do, therefore, recommend winter protection such as a burlap covering and mulch – especially when they are newly planted or exposed to strong winds.  It sounds like yours are both.

Please have a look at our response to a similar question about how to provide winter protection for evergreens in containers.  Although it is not about yews in particular, the same guidance applies.  https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/terrace-wintering/

As you are probably aware, your yews will be more exposed to the cold than if they were planted in the ground. Yews are considered hardy down to Zone 4, so you should be fine, but it will depend a bit on the size of your container and the exposure. The rule of thumb for winter hardiness in containers is that the plants you choose should be hardy to two zones lower than our own, which in Toronto would be Zone 4, or to be safer, Zone 3.

You might also have a look at our response to a similar question about planting Hicks yews on an East-facing balcony in Toronto.  https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/planting-2-hicks-yews-in-a-rectangular-container/

And finally, you might be interested in attending a January 10, 2023 talk on “Balcony and Terrace Gardening” by Toronto Master Gardeners.  You can find more information here: https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/event/balcony-and-terrace-gardening/.

Enjoy your winter garden!