When we moved in 11 years ago, two huge yew trees were beside our house, very close and taller than it. Having sought some advice, which told us yews would regrow no matter how hard they are pruned, we decided to cut them down to about 4 feet, and then keep them under control when the new growth came, only it didn't, they died. Listening to Gardeners question time this week, the same advice was given out.
The yew stump has lots of little crevices and I planted an perennial sweet pea in the largest one to give it some life, and it has worked okay. Looking closer at the stump I see also seeded in it are a raspberry, a blackcurrant, a gooseberry and a bilberry whose fruit we have picked this year. So for a dead stump, there's lots of life!