I have an overgrown yew planting. A friend said I could cut it back severely and it would recover. Is this true? Is fall a good time to prune it back?
Yews unlike many other evergreens will tolerate severe pruning. But brace yourself, it can take one or two seasons for the new needles to develop and cover the old wood. Wait until early spring, before growth begins. The pruning wounds will close more readily as the plants begin to grow in spring. This is also my preferred time for routine pruning on juniper, arborvitae and yews. Avoid fall pruning that removes the outer layer of needles, exposing the tender inner growth to the harsh conditions of winter. This increases the risk of winter damage and means more pruning will be needed in spring.