We planted these Taxus Yew hedges ("hicksii") along our fence line and they seem to be doing well in the shade.

Leggy growth on Taxus Yew hedge

Since they were planted earlier in the year they have grown considerably but some of the growth on the top is quite "leggy".

Our desire is to have the hedges grow 2 or 3 more feet, to build a nice thick privacy hedge.

The question is, should these "legs" be pruned back to prevent the plant from growing "thin" at at the top? Or would this stunt the growth, slowing the hedges growth to our expected height?

  • Do you have an understanding with the neighboring property owner regarding these growing through and over the fence as they get bigger? You don't appear to have left enough space to trim them on the fence side.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 21, 2023 at 16:15
  • @Ecnerwal 1) The image is sort of flattening the depth, there is 1.5 feet of space between the edge of the hedge and the fence, 2) The property on the other side is a forest, and has blackberry thickets growing along the fence Aug 21, 2023 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


If you want a nice dense hedge, you need to prune and shape. And please remember to give the sides a slope inwards towards the top so they actually get some light, or the bottom leaves will die out.

If you want a big bushy plant that doesn't look like a hedge, let it go.

If you are aiming for a "formal, geometric" hedge, strike a line that hits roughly halfway on the new growth, on average, and cut to that line. If not, cut the new growth in half, individually.

  • 1
    As we're headed into winter soon (I am BC, Canada), when would you suggest doing this trimming? Aug 21, 2023 at 16:31
  • If not a month ago, now.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 21, 2023 at 16:42
  • Thank you @ecnerwal Aug 21, 2023 at 17:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.