Bonsai tree: Tax Us? Taxus? What About Yew?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bonsai tree: Tax Us? Taxus? What About Yew?

Taxus bonsai 
This dynamic Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata) with is fluid play of strikingly attractive dead and live wood, and its perfectly balanced foliage. Unfortunately, the artist’s name was lost somewhere in translation.
Bad puns aside, I feel like I’ve praised yew before, but can’t find it anywhere. Anyway, at the risk of repeating myself, I like yews. For landscaping and for bonsai.Yews are often over used in landscaping and as a result their beauty is not always appreciated. Also, most people don’t know how to prune landscape trees, so some of their best features are usually hidden. I especially like the color and gnarly shapes that the wood takes on with age, and the brilliant yellow green new growth in the spring.

Yews are catching on for bonsai. Not that some people haven’t appreciated them all along, but in my experience it seems that most people have overlooked them. Perhaps this is because they are so common and are almost always pruned to hide the beauty of the wood when used in landscapes. The extreme hardness of the wood probably didn’t help either. Conversely, they are tough, tough, tough, and respond to pruning and root pruning with flying colors. Carving too, if you have the patience and strength. Once they are carved, the deadwood can be quite beautiful. As an extra plus, yews are more rot resistant than most trees.
Taxus baccata
It’s all about the broad shari (and the massive trunk that supports it) with this Taxus baccata (English yew). That and the sleek shiny reddish wood.

Source: Bonsai Bark


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