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Prune overgrown yews or hack them down?

18 years ago

We moved into this house a little over a year ago and need to do something to the front landscaping. The first issue is what to do with what I think are yews. I have two photos. {{gwi:244451}} shows the foliage pretty well so that those more knowledgeable can tell me if these really are yews. {{gwi:244452}} shows the size and scragglyness of these two things. (You can see that a lot needs to be done to improve this view.)

I should tell you I've never pruned a shrub in my life and I don't know quite where to begin. I don't really have an image of what these things should look like. Were they intended to be half that height? I've read about overgrown yews and they say you can cut them to the ground and they'll regrow in better shape. Do you think that's advisable here? If not, how should I go about taming them? I want to keep a natural look (I don't like the sheared-rectangle-type shrubs.) Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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