Trimming at the appropriate time, understanding the various types of cuts, and knowing the difference between trimming and rejuvenation pruning are essential when trimming a yew tree. Yew trees do not require many prunings, and sprouts regrow almost immediately after being cut.
Since trimming at the wrong time of the year can cause unwanted growth and damage, it is best to trim in the late winter during the dormant period. A light trim in the late summer towards the end of a yew trees growing period is also effective. Pruning in August can cause growth to spout and die prematurely from cold weather. Removing one-third of a yew tree’s foliage in different areas works best to maintain a full and natural look.
Trimming the outer growth with hand pruners makes the yew bushier, while cutting off long growth and removing branches deep in the foliage shapes the yew tree into a hedge and controls the overall size. Lower branches should be cut with caution due to slow growth. Cutting a yew tree into a hedge requires regularly cutting limbs, which results in thick branching. Rejuvenation pruning, which involves extreme cutting of the branches behind the outer foliage, results in a high volume of foliage that may take several years to form an attractive shape.