Hicks Yew

Hicks Yew is a narrow, columnar variety of the Anglo-Japanese Yew (Taxus × media) that is an excellent hedge or accent shrub.  It was introduced in 1900 by the Hicks Nursery in Long Island, NY, as a cross between cultivars of the English Yew (Taxus baccata) for its elegance and the Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata) for its hardiness. Since then, it has become an outstanding choice for a cold-hardy, versatile landscaping plant for narrow spaces.

Hicks Yew is an evergreen shrub with two-ranked rows of flat, dark green needles on dense, upright branches. Like most yews, Hicks is dioecious and has separate male and female plants. The male plants only produce needles, but the females develop ornamental, red, berry-like arils in the fall. Most parts of the plant are toxic to pets, livestock, and humans, although birds eat the seeds, and deer often enjoy the foliage in the winter.

This bush will grow moderately slowly at a rate of 8″-10″ per year and reach 8’×2′ in 10 years. It can grow naturally to 20′ but responds well to pruning and can be trimmed annually to 3′-4′ or higher in the spring. Since it grows well in either sun or shade, it is an exceptional addition to various areas in a landscape. Hicks Yew is excellent as a border shrub, foundation plant, for narrow hedges and privacy screens, at entrances, in woodland gardens, city gardens, and containers.

It will grow well in either sun or partial shade in various soil types, including clay, as long as they are moist and well-draining. It tolerates multiple conditions within its 4-7 hardiness zones, except wet, soggy soils and harsh winter winds. As an added bonus, Hicks Yew is rabbit-resistant, drought-resistant, and tolerant of shade, salt spray, and urban pollution, making it an excellent plant for suburban, urban, and coastal landscapes.

The type of companion plants for your Hicks Yew should be tolerant of both sun and partial shade. Shrubs like weigela, spiraea, barberry, lilac, shrubby cinquefoil, viburnum, and azalea grow well in varying amounts of sun and look well against the dark green of the yew. Low-growing perennials, such as periwinkle, creeping phlox, hostas, coral bells, perennial verbena, and euonymus, add a spot of color and texture below the plant. Spring bulbs, like tulips, daffodils, snowdrops, crocus, glory-of-the-snow, and hyacinths, brighten the area around the yew bush with early spring color and charm.