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Managing your yew - Church of England

Managing your yew tree   -  Russell Ball

Ancient Yew Group member Russell Ball and the Conservation Foundation have teamed up to produce this video for church wardens and others who find themselves responsible for this priceless national resource. Nowhere else in the world is it possible to find such a large number of ancient trees so closely associated with a sacred space. The Ancient Yew Group has recorded no fewer than 900 churchyard yews in England and Wales considered to have an age of 500 years plus. Of these 270 are thought to have an age that exceeds 800 years. A truly unique and priceless resource.  

On many occasions during the lifetime of a 500 year old (veteran) or an 800 year old (ancient) yew, decisions will have been taken regarding the best way to manage the tree. This will have usually been to ‘leave alone unless absolutely necessary’. While that remains true today, there are occasionally times when intervention is needed. This video covers those occasions with common sense advice on issues ranging from the treatment of ivy to looking after the root system.

We are the present custodians of trees planted and cared for over many centuries, from those 500 year old trees planted in the Middle Ages, the 800 year old trees planted by the Normans, even older specimens planted by Saxons and early Welsh saints, with the possibility that some might even pre-date Christianity.  

There is simply no excuse for us to fail in the duty of care we owe to these remarkable yews. 

Tim Hills January 2016