Taunton's Yew or something else?

stack59October 10, 2012

I would like a few evergreen shrubs on the NW corner of my home around the foundation. It was suggested to me to use taunton yews, however, I'm learning that yews are poisonous. I have 2 young children and 2 dogs. I can keep the kids away, but one of my dogs likes to chew on sticks, locust seed pods, and things like that. (I realize there aren't any sticks falling off this, however, she is a chewer and on the off chance she decides to take a taste...) Should I find something else to plant there? I face N and have some green velvet boxwoods on the front of the home, so I was looking for something a little different on the corner so I'm not just surrounded by boxwoods, but now I'm a bit concerned about the yews and I'm not a juniper or arbovitae fan.

A little background: I have a ranch home, red brick, with a covered porch that has endless summer hydrangeas in front of it. The boxwoods are next to the porch against the foundation, and off the NW corner is the basic plan of a serviceberry with some other perennials under it and around the outside perimeter of the bed. The yews would be going against the foundation, under the serviceberry and wrapping to the West side of the home. Thoughts?

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vetivert8(NI-NZ zone 9a)

It might be different where you are - however, I wouldn't plant anything like that close to my foundations unless it has a mat-style root system like an azalea.

And anything that can drop leaves in my gutters, or find the joins in my sewage or water lines...please, no. Drain layers get dollar signs in their eyes just thinking about clearing those lines of roots, and carpenters smile all the way to the bank after fixing the water damage on the walls.

Before planting I'd definitely check on what the roots might get up to.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 1:37AM
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I'd visit a local nursery and investigate some dwarf conifers - in zone 5 you are pretty limited as to what 'evergreen' shrubs will grow for you and conifers, needled evergreens, are about it, other than the boxwood. You might also have good results with mahonia (grape holly) and inkberry (Ilex glabra).

How much direct sunlight will be a factor. With the exception of the yews, most conifers prefer full sun. They will be sparse and leggy if grown in much shade. But there are some that would work......just depends on what local suppliers may carry.

Roots would not be my main concern. With a structurally sound foundation, even far reaching tree roots are unlikely to cause problems. Same with underground water or sewer lines unless you are planting aggressive water seekers, like willows or poplars. But the vast majority of shrubs will not cause any issues......these are the basis for what is commonly referred to as "foundation plantings".

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 2:16PM
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Thanks for the responses.

gardengal48 - I was thinking about inkberry also. I'll ask some local nurseries about them in addition to dwarf conifers.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 2:40PM
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