Hill’s yew or Hick’s yew

(Question)

I have just bought two yews from Home Depot that are already 5 feet tall. Each has two tags: the yellow one simply says Taxus Hillii and the nursary tag says Yew If “Hicksii” Taxus x media. Although purchased in very large plastic pots the roots are burled in burlap.

What shrubs do I have and should I remove the burlap? I’d really appreciate your advice. I am located in Georgetown and these are to be foundation plantings that face south east with the house protecting them from northwest winds.

(Answer)

It may not be easy to find someone at Home Depot who can help to identify which variety you have, but it might be worth trying.  Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’ and ‘Hillii’ have some differences in form, habit and foliage, but are similar in terms of hardiness and will both grow well in sun or shade.  Of the two, Hick’s yew is faster growing.  For a more complete description of the two varieties, here is a previous Toronto Master Gardeners post that provides a comparison:  https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/yews-hicks-vs-hills/

When you plant your yews, the burlap should be cut away and removed, allowing roots to extend into the soil.

The TMG has a few other excellent sources of information to offer you with advice on planting and pruning: https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/index.php/factsheet/planting-a-tree-a-toronto-master-gardeners-guide/ and https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/index.php/factsheet/evergreens-suitable-for-hedging-a-toronto-master-gardeners-guide/