Taunton Spreading Yew (Taxus x media ‘Tauntonii’)

Taunton Spreading Yew

  • Grows in Full Shade or Full Sun
  • Easy Care Evergreen
  • Four Season Interest
  • Extremely Versatile
  • Tolerant to Both Heat and Cold
  • Resistant to Winter Burn
  • Prune Once a Year

No time? Exacting tastes? No problem.

For a lovely, low maintenance evergreen hedge or foundation planting, use the classic Taunton Spreading Yew, (Taxus x media ‘Tauntonii’). With its low graceful and lovely form, this shrub makes the perfect accent to any landscape.

Also known as Japanese Yews, Taunton Spreading Yew grows with a sophisticated, spreading form. Landscapers love to use these plants because of their rich evergreen foliage, ease of care and versatility.

This plant is evergreen foliage of short dark green needles all year long. Use these to add structure to your garden design. They’ll act as a perfect foil for brighter annuals and other flowering shrubs.

This shrub is well-known for being both tolerant of summer heat and resistant to winter burn. They’ll work in the cold winters of Zone 4 and tolerate sticky humid heat of Zone 7 summers without blinking an eye. They truly are incredibly easy to care for!

What makes dwarf Taunton’s Yew so valuable is that it is an evergreen that can grow in full sun, part shade, or total shade. They are one of the few evergreens that will tolerate full shade.

This really opens the door to use them throughout your landscape. As the rest of your garden rests during the winter, this shrub will continue to be eye-catching as its beautiful dark green color never fades.

With an excellent compact and dense growth habit, landscape architects have been seeing them with fresh eyes for use in today’s landscapes. Create a special focal point using them as an evergreen surround for a gorgeous Japanese Maple tree, or exquisite garden sculpture. Be sure to add landscape lights to spotlight those moments at night.

With its tolerance for so many different climates and amounts of sun exposure, it’s no wonder the reliable Taunton Spreading Yew is loved by many. Try it in your border or as an accent specimen.

How to Use Taunton Yew in the Landscape

Japanese Yews have been used as traditional foundation plants to dress up the front of houses. That is still a wonderful application for low maintenance landscapes.

Use these to establish boundaries as a fine-textured, low evergreen hedge. Run them along the length of a driveway or allow them to polish the setting by using several planted as a hedge along a patio.

This works well to create a feeling of privacy, without feeling like you live in a fortress. And because Taunton Yews work in both sun and in shade, it’s possible to achieve a consistent look for longer hedges that may run through both sun exposures.

You can shear them without problem. For a continuous hedge, plant them 2 ½’ or 3′ on center. Measure from the center of one to the center of the next. Shear to keep the tops narrower than the base, so the foliage will grow densely all the way to the ground.

For modern design purists, try your hand at using them as special evergreen accents. Plant them 8 feet apart in a straight line and shear them into square boxes or round balls. Or put one on either side of a doorway or entrance to a garden path.

Shear them or leave them natural and untrimmed. Without pruning, the shrub develops feathery new growth. It will grow into a pretty open shape.

They work beautifully in a mixed shrub border or as a backdrop to a perennial garden. These shrubs really shine in winter. Be sure to include evergreens throughout your landscape for a balanced look year round.

Tips for Care

They’ll work in almost any soil, as long as it’s well-drained. Plant only where the soil is well-drained. If you see puddles in the planting site after a rain, you’ll want to “mound up” before planting. Simply build a mound of dirt 18 – 24 inches higher than your native soil line. You’ll plant directly into the mound.

Give regular water during the first several seasons. Once their roots are established into your soil, it’s very adaptable to lower moisture.

It’s best not to prune heavily in fall. To keep the shrub in check for size, prune in later spring after the new growth feathers out. Reduce the length of the new growth to keep it smaller. Sometimes a secondary flush of growth may develop. In that case, just snip any stragglers off.

Honestly, Taunton Spreading Yews never need pruning. The natural look is very attractive, as well. It’s no problem if you want to just tidy up its edges from time to time.

Taunton Spreading Yew (Taxus x media ‘Tauntonii’) Details

Common name Taunton Spreading Yew
Botanical name Taxus x media 'Tauntonii'
Hardiness zone 4-7
Growth rate Slow
Height 3 - 4 ft.
Width 4 - 6 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun, Full Shade, Partial Shade
Moisture Medium
Soil condition Widely Adaptable
Pollinator-friendly No
Leaf color Evergreen