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Yew refinement

 

Common Yew (Taxus baccata) is native to Northern Europe. It is very long growing and hardy, and is excellent for bonsai.
The trunk and branches are covered with red and brown scaly bark, and the linear oblong leaves are dark green when they have hardened off.

Leaf of Taxus baccata
At the beginning of the growing season the Yew will bud out in a light green in contrast to the very dark green of the previous years growth.
Pinching of the new shoots needs to be continued throughout the growing season as they appear.
   
New growth has appeared
The new growth has now hardened
In the photo on the left the new growth has appeared and the light colour can be seen against the dark green of last years growth. At this time the growth is very soft, and over a few weeks it will grow and also become darker in colour, and feel tougher.
The new growth is held between fingers and thumb When the new growth has hardened off enough then is the time to pinch out the tip as shown here.
The new shoot should be held between the finger and thumb of one hand, and then the tip held in the same way with the other hand. Pull the shoot gently in a straight line and it will detach.
The tip is held with the fingers and thump of the other hand
The tip is pulled away
   
This photo shows the amount that was removed from one tree. If any of the tips are not ready then they should be left until later.
Shows the tipos that were pinched out from one tree
   
A new bud has just appeared
The bud has begun to grow
More growth appears
After a few weeks small buds will appear close to where you removed the previous shoot as can be seen on the photo on the left. Sometimes you get two or three buds appear, and these can be left to grow on. These buds will then grow as shown in the other two photos
New growth appears all over the tree This photo shows the new shoots opening out on the tree and by early August they will have grown like those in the photo at the top left of this page.
Once again when the new growth has hardened they can then be pinched out.
A yew tree in May just before poinching
A yew tree after the second pinching in September
The photo on the left was taken in May just before pinching out the new shoots. It had been pruned twice during the growing season, and the photo on the right was taken shortly after the second pruning.
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