Washington Hawthorn–no Berries Second Year – Hawthorn belongs to a very large family of over 1,000 species, although they all share similar characteristics and all produce attractive fruit. Despite their susceptibility to pests and diseases, they serve many purposes in the landscape.
Since the different varieties are very similar to each other, it is difficult to distinguish one from the other. The vast majority of species have branches covered with thorns that range from under and up to 3 inches in length and all produce prickly fruits. Although they are classified as small trees, they tend to branch, resulting in multiple trunks or a large bush if not pruned. They average between 15 and 30 feet tall and wide. Small trees grow slowly to moderately.
Washington Hawthorn–no Berries Second Year
One drawback to growing them, other than thorny branches, is that they are prone to various diseases and pest problems.
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Depending on the variety, the bark is generally thin and smooth, although some types are scaly and reddish-brown to greyish in color. Newer branches are greenish-orange and covered with reddish-brown spines, depending on the species.
The alternate foliage is usually toothed, wedge-shaped, oblong or round, depending on the species, and glossy green in the spring, turning orange-red in the fall, depending on the variety. All types of hawthorn are deciduous, shedding their leaves in winter.
Depending on the variety, hawthorns bloom from early spring to late summer, usually covered in small white flowers that generally have a pungent scent. They are members of the rose family and their flowers resemble miniature roses. However, some hybrid varieties produce pink or pink flowers. The plants are profusely flowering, with flowers covering the tree.
All varieties produce small clusters of reddish-black berry fruits that are technically classified as drupes and form a few months after flowering. Unripe fruit is green. Depending on the variety, fruits form in late spring through early fall and remain on the plant for several months. Some common names for the fruit include apple and apple.
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Fruits range in size from about 1/2 inch to about 1 inch in diameter, depending on the species, and resemble a cranberry or crab in appearance and flavor. Many species are juicy and sour in taste, and each fruit contains several seeds that are prized by different species of birds. Although the berries are edible, many varieties taste better than others, with varieties such as May and Western used to make wine, condiments, desserts and preserves, usually in local markets where the plant grows. The biggest consumers of berries are rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, deer and small rodents.
Wait for the fruit to reach its full color and ripen before picking. You can pick the fruit by hand and place it in a container as you go, but this is a time-consuming process. An easier way to collect a large amount of fruit at once is to spread a tarp or sheet under the canopy of the tree and then shake it. Ripe fruit will fall on the canopy, while unripe fruit will remain on the tree.
), also called majhaw, is another edible plant that produces pods that are used to make jams and syrups. It grows as a small, thornless, deciduous tree that reaches about 30 feet tall and wide at maturity, with 2-inch green, smooth-edged foliage. White flowers bloom in spring, with 1-inch red pedicels ripening in May. It is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 9 and has good disease resistance.
), also called apple hawthorn, is a deciduous, native variety prized for the jelly produced from its 1-inch red pods that ripen in May. Some varieties do not have thorns. It grows like a small tree, reaching about 30 feet tall and wide at maturity, producing white flowers in early spring. The green, oval leaves are on average 2 cm long and do not change color in autumn. The tree is hardy in USDA zones 6 through 11 and has good disease resistance.
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) is a native, deciduous small tree that averages 20 feet tall and wide at maturity. In the early part of summer, the tree is covered in white flowers, followed in the fall by clusters of 1/2-inch reddish-orange fruits, prized by wildlife. The green serrated and ribbed foliage is an average of 3 cm long and turns orange-red in autumn. It has 1- to 3-inch thorns that cover the branches and is prone to various diseases and pests. It is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 8.
) is a native, small deciduous tree that averages 30 feet tall and wide at maturity. Its green serrated and elongated leaves average 3 cm long and turn orange-red in autumn. Thorns, 1/2 to 1 inch long, cover the branches. White flowers cover the plant in early summer, followed by clusters of 1/2-inch purple-black berries that ripen in early fall. It is hardy in USDA zones 2 through 7. It is not as prone to insects and diseases as other varieties.
) averages 20 feet tall and wide at maturity and, unlike many others in the family, retains its green foliage until it falls off in winter. One-inch spikes cover the branches and white, pink or pink flowers form in late spring, depending on the variety, followed in early fall by 1/2-inch red berries prized by wildlife. This variety is susceptible to many diseases and pests. It is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8.
Hawthorns are used in a variety of ways in the landscape, but you should consider their thorns or plant a thornless variety when choosing a location. Because of their thorny nature, you probably don’t want to plant them near walkways or entrances.
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Because their crown blooms profusely, use a small tree as a specimen where the flowers, berries, and fall colors can put on a show. They also do well with pollinators and butterflies because the flowers attract beneficial insects.
Trees also do well in native or wildlife settings, providing shelter and food for local mammal and bird species. If left unpruned, the trees do well as hedges or hedge plants, but if pruned to a single main trunk, they do well as small shade trees.
Since many grow naturally around stream banks, you can plant them around ponds in your home landscape. You probably don’t want to use them around pools because of their thorns.
Although most are prone to various problems, they are hardy trees that perform well in a variety of conditions. When planting a tree purchased from a nursery, you should plant the root ball at the same depth as it grew in the container. Planting too deep relieves the tree.
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If you are adding more trees to the landscape, leave about 15 to 20 feet between multiple plants to encourage healthy, unobstructed growth. Planting too many plants too close together also reduces air circulation, making hawthorn vulnerable to pest and disease problems.
New plants can be propagated by grafting, seed planting or softwood cuttings, although sowing and cuttings is the easiest way.
Propagation of plants by seed is relatively simple and seedlings begin to bear fruit about four years after planting.
Propagation by cuttings ensures faster fruiting, which occurs in about two years. The process is quite simple.
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The biggest requirement in caring for these trees is proper pruning to develop a strong structure and adequate amounts of fertilizer for abundant growth and fruit production.
Apply 1 pound of fertilizer for each inch of trunk diameter divided into two applications throughout the year. When applying, use half of the total amount of fertilizer required for the first application in February and the other half in late summer. Use a slow-release 5-10-10 mix and don’t over-fertilize or use too much nitrogen as it promotes blight.
Spread the fertilizer evenly over the planting site, keeping it away from the trunk and raking it into the soil. After application, pour the fertilizer into the soil and off the leaves.
To create a strong structure, select the strongest and healthiest central branch and prune all others to ground level. Over time, the plant will continue to send out additional water shoots or shoots and it is best to prune them as they sprout.
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Trees tend to develop an open canopy as they mature, so it’s best to prune any branches that grow too close together to encourage proper air circulation. This also helps reduce pest and disease problems. Cut back any dead, damaged, diseased or crossing branches at any time of the year. Otherwise, wait until the plant is dormant in winter to do major pruning or shaping.
They should inspect their plants regularly to check for potential pest problems. Some pests cause only cosmetic problems that do not warrant control, while other pests must be treated before populations grow out of control.
Hawthorn is susceptible to various sap-sucking insects such as spider mites, aphids, lacewings and scale insects. Upon close inspection, insects should be observed on the underside of the plant’s foliage or gathering along fresh stems. Sapsuckers suck the sap from the plant, causing distorted leaves and discoloration.