How to get rid of Yew trees?

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Yew or Taxus Baccata (also known as common yew or English yew) is an evergreen tree of the family Taxaceae. Yew trees are usually used as ornamental trees, although most people try not to grow them because of their toxicity. Because of its evergreen nature, you can expect large foliage all year round. Many people want to remove Yew trees because of their poisonous nature.

Because of the trees’ toxic nature of Yew, many people want to remove the trees from their property, so let’s have a look at how to do it.

How to kill Yew trees?

When you are looking for methods to kill Taxus Baccatas, you have to look for methods that are as fast as possible. This tree is considered to be extremely dangerous, so the faster you kill the tree the better it is. You can choose from a variety of options, each of them. has its own pros and cons:

  1. Foliar Spray: This method is most suitable for trees that are small, under 15 feet, preferrably smaller.
  2. Cutting the tree down and treating the stump with Herbicides: This tree killing method is one of the oldest and most used one. After cutting the tree, there is a chance it might sprout back. Treating it with chemicals will inhibit further growth.
  3. Ring barking: This method will stop any nutrients from travelling from roots to the foilage. That in turn will result in the tree dying slowly. Depending on the species, using an herbicide after removing the bark is neccessry,
  4. Basal Bark treatment: Spraying the bottom 20 inches of the tree trunk with chemical like Triclopyr. The chemical will absorb within the bark and kill the tree over time.
  5. Injecting the tree with chemicals: Very similar to ring barking, drilling is used to inject the tree with chemicals. You will need to drill holes 1-2 inches deep along the circumference of the tree. After this, simply spray some herbicides into the holes.
  6. Cut surface treatment: Another form of injecting the tree with chemicals would be cut surface treatment. You will have to make cuts in the bark deep enough to expose the inner white surface. Then spray the cuts with a chemical like Tordon or Roundup into the cuts.

The best way to kill a small Yew tree

Usually, Taxus Baccatas can grow to around 50 to 80 feet tall. In case you are dealing with a small Yew tree up to 10ft tall, the foilage spray method would be the easiest route to go.

However, this process should be carried out in calm weather, in spring or summer. In those seasons the nutrient flow in the Yew tree is most active, maximizing the odds of killing the tree.

More on recommended herbicides here.

  1. Use a strong herbicide like Roundup or Ortho.
  2. Spray the foliage of the tree with the chosen herbicide. (please follow the manufacurers safety instructions)
  3. The herbicide will be absorbed by the tree and transported to the root system killing the whole tree.

The foliar Spray method works very well with this species because of Yew trees’ large foliage. There will be a lot of surface area for the chemical to be absorbed.

The best way to kill a big Yew tree

In exceptional cases, Taxus Baccatas can grow up to 90 feet in height. Methods such as Foliar Spray would not be applicable here. Injecting the tree with an herbicide would be the preferred way of killing the tree.

You can use ringbarking, cut surface treatment, or drilling holes and injecting the tree. However, to prevent the tree from sprouting you have to expose the cambium layer of the tree to the herbicide.

  1. You will need to either get a hatchet, a saw or chainsaw for this method.
  2. Simply expose the cambium layer in your preffered way.
  3. Spray herbicide on the cambium layer of the tree.

I would not recommend using any part of the Yew tree later on as it can be extremely poisonous. The best way to get rid of it completely would be to burn it.

Can you kill a Taxus Baccata without cutting it down?

Taxus Baccatas can be killed without cutting them down. The preferred methods for doing so would be ringbarking, basal bark treatment, or cut surface treatment.

Although you can kill a Yew tree without cutting it down, it is highly recommended that cut the tree down immediately. Even small quantities of Yew can be fatal if ingested or inhaled.

Hire a professional tree removal service

It is highly recommended that while dealing with this species, hire a professional to kill and remove the tree. Any accidental ingestion or inhalation can be fatal while dealing with Taxus Baccatas and a professional will ensure that no offshoot or regrowth occurs.

Things to consider while removing a tree on your own

Large Taxus Baccatas, once the tree has been killed, the chance of falling down increases. This is dangerous if the tree is located near a house or power a line.

With this species, you also have to keep in mind the toxicity of the tree. You should wear appropriate PPE at all times! No remnant should be left behind once the tree is removed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you be careful while removing Taxus Baccata?

Yes! Taxus Baccatas are considered to be highly poisonous. You have to make sure that nothing is left behind on the ground especially if you have pets or children.

When do Yew trees bear fruit?

The fruiting season for Yews is around fall. They bear small round red-colored fruits.

What is the best time to kill Taxus Baccata?

The best time to kill Taxus Baccata would be right before they start bearing fruit. This is because some small fruits can be left behind after removing the tree which in turn can result in a new Yew tree growing.


There are a number of ways to kill Yew trees, but since it has toxic tendencies, the best method to kill the tree would be to cut it down, treat the stump with herbicide and grind the stump 2-4 weeks later.

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