Upright Yew: Low Maintenance Vertical Accent For Your Garden Or Landscape

Upright Yew: Low Maintenance Vertical Accent For Your Garden Or Landscape

Upright Yew

Photo Compliments Of Leonora Enking

The Taxus baccata ‘Standishii’, upright yew, or more commonly called the columnar golden yew creates a perfect low maintenance vertical accent in the garden, a great plant to catch the eye and attention of those viewing your garden or landscaping. Most columnar yews become too large with time or splay and split with age; this upright yew holds its rigid form and can easily be pruned to fit into almost any sized garden. It is one of the most compact and narrowest selections of golden yew. The new spring growth is a bright golden yellow that glows. The color holds well into summer, eventually becoming a rich golden veneer over the dark green older interior needles. You should use it in tight or narrow locations or as an exclamation point in the landscape. You can use it in combination with low mounding shrubs, such as azaleas and dwarf rhododendrons where it will add contrast; you can also plant it with the soft flowing mounds of the smaller ornamental grasses. The gold evergreen needles look great with red, orange, burgundy or purple, for a quieter garden use it with white, cream, or soft yellows.

This evergreen shrub features a columnar growth habit with upright shoots. Needles are 1 inch in length and light yellow on the upper surface. This cultivar grows slowly to a landscape height of about 7 feet with a width of 2 feet. Needles are crowded close together on the shoots. Plants of this cultivar are all female, so if a male yew of any kind is nearby, they produce red berries which add extra interest late in the season. The berries are, however, poisonous if eaten.

How To Make Your Upright Yew, Columnar  Golden Yew Thrive

Taxus baccata ‘Standishii’ is surprisingly tolerant of a wide variety of soils from clay to sandy sites. In poor soils it is best to amend with added organic matter and to water regularly until the plants are established. Once established it is quite drought tolerant, but would appreciate an occasional watering during dry summers. It can tolerate full sun to full shade, but the golden color vanishes in excessive shade. The best foliage color is seen if planted in bright open shade to sun all day.  Typically plants will require very little pruning other than removing the occasional small branch growing out of shape.

General Upright Yew, Columnar  Golden Yew Information

Diseases And Pests

No serious threats to this variety.


You can easily propagate from old wood cuttings.

Garden Uses

Superb for landscape accents or just about anywhere a slender, columnar, evergreen is desired. Keep in mind that most yews are rather slow growing; ‘Standish’ is no exception, with average growth rates of 4 to 6 inches each year.

Quick Facts

  • Plant Type: Columnar conifer
  • Foliage Type: Evergreen
  • Plant Height: 6 to 8 feet at maturity (slow grower)
  • Plant Width: 18 to 24 inches
  • Growth Rate: Slow (4 to 6 inches each year)
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 5 to 8
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to mostly shade; actually superior to most other conifer varieties in shady conditions, but will lose all of the bright golden yellow new growth color if planted in shadier spots.
  • Water Requirements: Regular watering to drought tolerant
  • Soil Preference: Moist, sandy loam is preferred, but will adapt to most soil types. Good drainage is a must.
  • Foliage Color & Texture: Very nice dark green needle like foliage year round with a fine, delicate texture. New growth is a brilliant golden yellow color, and covers the plant in spring thru summer; color fades in mid to late summer into dark green.
  • Flower, Cone, Or Berry Facts: Will usually develop small red colored “cones” – which are actually not cones at all, resembles some sort of berry containing a seed.

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  1. I like yews. They look so nice and need little maintenance.

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