English Yew (taxus baccata)
2 grams (approx 30 seeds) £1.35
5 grams (approx 75 seeds) £1.80
10 grams (approx 150 seeds) £2.25
25 grams (approx 375 seeds) £5.25
50 grams (approx 750 seeds) £9.50
100 grams (approx 1500 seeds) £17.00
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Yew is widely used in gardens and in landscaping. Due to its dense, dark green, mature foliage, and its tolerance of even very severe pruning, it is especially suited for the creation of formal hedges and topiary specimens. Its relatively slow growth rate means that in such situations it needs to be clipped only once per year (in late summer). It is also popular as a Bonsai in many parts of Europe and makes a handsome small to large sized bonsai.
It will grow in almost any soil of all pH ranges except in those that are subject to water-logging. It is less tolerant of maritime exposure but grows well in a polluted atmosphere.
Even young plants do not usually grow rapidly -seldom more than 30cm (1ft) per year. It can however be very long-lived, with a maximum age of at least 2,000 years and possibly much more. The potential age of yews is impossible to determine accurately and is subject to much dispute. It is the longest living plant in Europe and has the unusual ability for large branches to split under their own weight without succumbing to fungal decay within the fracture, as do most other trees.
All parts of the tree are toxic, except the bright red aril surrounding the seed, which enables ingestion and dispersal by birds. The foliage remains toxic even when wilted or dried.
Although this tree is easy to grow it does have a very long natural dormancy and will require pre treatment lasting around 16 months before any numbers of seeds will germinate -but then, sometimes the best things are worth waiting for.
Seed collected from the New Forest, Hampshire, UK
Germination, Sowing and After Care Information for
English Yew (taxus baccata)
Mix the seeds into the medium, making sure that their is enough volume of material to keep the seeds separated. Place the seed mixture into a clear plastic bag (freezer bags, especially zip-lock bags are very useful for this -provided a little gap is left in the seal for air exchange) If it is not a zip-lock type bag it needs to be loosely tied.
Write the date on the bag so that you know when the pre-treatment was started.
The seeds first require a period of warm pre-treatment and need to be kept in temperatures of around 20 Celsius (68F) for a period of at least 24 weeks - it is not critical if it lasts a week or two longer than this. During this time make sure that the pre-treatment medium does not dry out at any stage or it will be ineffective!
Next the seeds require a cold period to break the final part of the dormancy, this is achieved by placing the bag in the fridge (4 Celsius or 39F) for around 40 weeks, again if it is for a little longer it does not matter. It is quite possible for the seeds to germinate in the bag at these temperatures when they are ready to do so, (it is worth checking the bag every few weeks for germinating seedlings) if they do, just remove them from the bag and carefully plant them up.
Seeds that are ready to germinate will have split the hard outer case and can quickly begin to produce a root. When the pre-treatment period is completed the seed is ready to be sown.
Pots or seed trays can be used, filled with a good quality compost with the seeds sown on a firmed compost surface, covered with a thin layer of compost (up to1cm) and watered. It is often best to remove established germinated seedlings from their containers and pot them up separately. After the first growing season do not throw away the contents of the pots and trays but leave them outside in a shady place through summer and winter and further seedlings will appear the next Spring. This process can continue for as long as 5 years with some seedlings germinating each year,- so don't give up on them too soon!
Do not expose newly sown seeds to high temperatures (above 25 Celsius) otherwise a secondary dormancy may be induced and the seeds will not germinate until they have been pretreated again. Keep the seedlings well watered and weed free.
A few months after germination developing seedlings should be fine in full sun.
Growth in the first season is slow but will accelerate in the second and subsequent years and the developing young trees should be re-potted as necessary preferably during the dormant season. After perhaps 3 or 4 years they are ready to be planted in their permanent position.