Why My Winter King Hawthorn Has No Berries – May 26, 2020. We have issues with the hawthorn tree (we moved one year ago, so we think it was hawthorn, it had small clusters of white flowers in sprin…
May 26, 2020. We have a problem with the hawthorn tree (we moved 1 year ago, so we think it was hawthorn, it had a few white flowers in spring and in late fall/winter there were red berries). For the past several weeks, he appears to have been suffering from some kind of disease or insect infestation. The leaves closest to the stem are stunted and turn brown. Leaves at the end of the stems appear life-size and green. The berries may have been the beginning of fire blight but that sounds different than what happened to the Asian pear tree that suffered from FB in our old house. There are also black and orange bugs that are oddly shaped and flattened on some leaves and berries. The leaves are stunted and brown very widespread – almost the entire tree except for the tips of the branches. The bark of the trunk also appears to be damaged, with the long vertical segments cracking, drying and peeling.
Why My Winter King Hawthorn Has No Berries
This appears to be hawthorn (Crataegus, probably commonly used Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’). Hawthorn is susceptible to spring dispersal from caterpillar bugs, an insect larva that penetrates tunnels within leaf tissue and leaves dead, dry pockets at its tips in its wake. Although they are very presentable, they do little harm to the tree and do not significantly affect its health. It is possible that leaves with normal growth appeared after the start of leafhopper feeding, as they cannot move from one leaf to another. No control measures are necessary and damaged leaves will eventually fall off and be replaced by new growth.
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Growing berries show signs of a fungal infection called rust. This mushroom bounces back and forth between two host plants (the other is juniper) and can be more prominent in wet-weather springs. Although unsightly, it also does not require treatment (in fact, at this point, treatments are not effective). More information about this disease is detailed here: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/rust-diseases-trees.
Peeling/flaking of the bark on many varieties of hawthorn (including ‘Winter King’) is normal. We can’t see the torso clearly, but no obvious problems are apparent. The grass appears to grow at the base of the trunk, which is risky in terms of mowing and weeding equipment that damages the trunk. Ideally, a wide disk of mulch should be used at the base of the tree to prevent gardeners from getting too close to the bark. Injury to sapwood under the bark at the base of the trunk can cause severe, irreparable damage.
The black and orange insect depicted on the hand-held leaf is a small beetle (larva) (lady beetle). They are beneficial predators of pest insects and should be allowed to patrol the plant. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/predators-ladybird-beetles-ladybugs
This work is supported in part by a New Technologies for Ag Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the USDA. The name says it all – Winter King Hawthorn will truly be the king of your winter garden. Depending on the availability of other bird food, the orange and red berries of this medium-sized native tree may remain clear through January. Next, pull up a chair by the window and watch titmouses, bluebirds, cardinals, and cedar waxwings burrow. And the Winter King Hawthorn (also known as “Hawthorne”) doesn’t slack off in other seasons either. In the spring, clusters of white flowers rest on the branches like freshly fallen snow, emphasizing the distinctive horizontal branching habit that provides a nice contrast to the more upright trees in your landscape all year long.
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This species hails from the Midwest and Southeast, where its weather-resistant hardwood made it a good candidate for fence posts in days gone by. Many birds appreciate this tree, although it allows us to enjoy the orange and red berries all winter long before digging in. They may need frost to soften them. Some butterflies and moths raise their young on the foliage, and bees frequent the blooms in the spring. This selection, estimated to have a larger-than-usual fruit abundance, was discovered by nurseryman Bob Simpson of Vincennes, Indiana in 1955.
Winter King Hawthorn is a hardy, drought-resistant, cold-tolerant tree. Its only persistent problem is its tendency to lose leaves in late summer due to common leaf disease. This is actually not a bad thing, because by that time the fruits have begun to ripen, and the leaves are standing in the way of show!
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Winter King Hawthorne does not need to be pampered and will treat any planting site as long as it is in full sun and with well-drained soil. This rustic tree does well in the heart of the city. Protect the trunk from damage, as the beautiful silver bark is thin, and thread trimmers can make a mess.
Water regularly after initial planting. Once established, they become more tolerant of drought conditions, which reduces hand watering responsibilities.
During the fall, feed a Winter King Bower & Branch Elements fertilizer once a year for about 3 or 4 years—this will give your tree all the nutrients it needs.
Winter King Hawthorn rarely needs pruning, and that’s a good thing—there’s a reason it’s called a Haw-THORN! If you need to prune, do so soon after the tree has flowered and proceed with caution.
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