Yew hedge

(Question)

I have 100 ft. of 2-year old yew hedge, 3ft. high, running along the side of my house next to the sidewalk. I’d like to trim it into an undulating wave shape, with 3 or 4 curves; no idea how to do this…not sure how begin, not sure when to begin; thoughts?

(Answer)

This is such a fantastic project. I wondered whether you may have been inspired by the gardens of Veddw in Wales, which have long undulating yew hedges. If you have never seen them, here are a couple of websites with wonderful photographs that can provide you with a sense of scale: https://veddw.com and https://www.gardenista.com/posts/garden-visit-a-landscape-of-reflections-in-wales

One place to start might be with this book, “The Art of Creative Pruning” (Timber Press 2011), which is widely available. Author Jake Hobson’s skill and imagination are quite amazing, and he provides technical advice. His website also offers inspiration: https://www.jakehobson.com/#page_home.

As far as pruning techniques go, there are also very good online tutorials for yews and yew hedges. Springtime is considered the best time for pruning evergreens, but Taxus is also considered to be one of the most forgiving of evergreens, and it can be tidied up virtually anytime.

For instruction on how to create a desired shape of you hedge please read the paragraph “Formal Hedges” in this article of the Royal Horticulture Society.

Best of luck with your hedge artistry!