Winter King Hawthorn Berries – Green hawthorn (‘Winter King’ cultivar) has red fruit in autumn. Photo: M. Talabac, University of Maryland
Sun/Shade: Native species grow in partial shade to full shade; The ‘Winter King’ cultivar grows in filtered shade to full sun
Winter King Hawthorn Berries
Garden Uses: Green hawthorn, also called southern hawthorn (Crataegus viridis), is native to the Southeastern United States, including the Maryland Coastal Plain. Its natural habitat includes lowlands, valleys, and swamps, with medium-wet soil and full partial shade.
Green Hawthorn Winter King
The cultivated variety, Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King,’ tolerates full sun and adapts well to a variety of soil conditions including compact and sometimes dry. It is tolerant of air pollution and makes a good choice for urban areas. ‘Winter King’ has small and inconspicuous thorns, unlike the upright species which can have thorns up to 1.5 inches long.
The green hawthorn offers many seasons of interest: showy white flowers in the spring, attractive scarlet leaves in the fall, and small fruits that turn orange-red in the fall and may persist on the tree until winter. The berries are edible but not considered high quality for human consumption. In mature trees, patches of outer gray bark peel away to reveal the inner orange bark.
Wildlife: Green hawthorn flowers provide honey to bees and mature butterflies. A variety of birds and small mammals eat the fruits.
Director, Michael. 1998. Handbook of Woody Landscape Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Use, Fifth Edition.
How Fast Does A Hawthorn Grow?
Slattery, Britt E., et. al. 2005. Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, Chesapeake Bay Field Office, Annapolis, MD. 82 pp. The author’s hawthorn tree bears white flowers every spring. In the last few years, it has attracted many species of warblers. Photo by Ronald Zigler
When my wife and I moved into our home in 2000 in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, she began creating a bird-attracting garden, filling it with native trees and plants.
Later, when we needed to replace some dead and dying trees, he looked for a tree that he felt would be the best fit for the garden. After some research, he decided to plant a
This type of hawthorn has a lot to recommend it. In addition to being resistant to disease, it is reported to be covered each spring with abundant white flowers, which are then followed in the fall by orange-red berries that are eaten by birds. In addition to attracting birds, the tree is deer resistant making it a compelling choice, as deer have already entered our borough.
Snow Covered Twigs And Red Berries Of Winter King Hawthorn 0106dc Stock Photo
As the tree grew and the fall fruits became more abundant, we were pleased but not entirely surprised to see Cedar Waxwings and Northern Mockingbirds, sometimes joined by American Robins and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, feeding on the abundance of the tree. However, what turned out to be a wonderful bonus for us are the birds that are attracted to the hawthorn every spring in mid-May, when it turns into a mass of white flowers: warblers.
At first, we thought that the appearance of neotropical migrants was just luck. After all, we live in the middle of town, and our property is not next to a park or a large grove. However, over a period of several years, we have noticed that the warblers appear quite predictably, especially when the masses of white flowers rise at the right time in May.
Naturally, we began to closely monitor the tree, something that is much easier exists is easier than looking for warblers in the larger parks and nature preserves in our area. And because hawthorn only grows to about 25 to 30 feet tall, it concentrates birds in a relatively small area.
Over the past few years, we have now documented nine warbler species in our hawthorn: Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Northern Parula, and Yellow-rumped, Black-and-white, Magnolia, Nashville, Wilson’s, and Black- throated Blue Warbler.
Finding Beauty In Winter Textures And Hues
I noticed that individual birds seemed to stay for two or three days, prompting me to do more research about this unexpected bonus from our tree. Finding the answer is not difficult. In a 2009 paper on
, three scientists at the Sonoran Desert Research Station and the University of Northern Arizona discuss a phenomenon we observe in our backyard — namely, “flower power.” Their paper is aptly titled “Flower power: tree flowering phenology as a settlement cue for migrating birds.”
In summarizing their paper, researchers Laura McGrath, Charles van Riper III, and Joseph Fontaine emphasize that small neotropical migrant birds such as the wood-warbler cannot conserve enough energy to sustain their long migrations. the trip is non-stop without periodic food stops. Therefore, they show a clear preference for stopover habitats with abundant food supply.
However, it is not always understood how birds respond to choosing one habitat over another. The researchers maintain that for insectivorous migrants such as warblers, flowering, leaf flush, and leaf loss associated with vegetative phenology can reliably predict the availability of herbivorous arthropods – the insects they feed on. .
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So it is not difficult to see the special appeal of our hawthorn tree. Its many white flowers were apparently an irresistible sign, at least for the warblers passing by to see behind us. In fact, with careful observations, we can see small insects picked up by warblers from around the flowers of the tree. For this reason, if we retire and change our garden to another location, a ‘Winter King’ hawthorn will definitely be an addition to our yard, if we don’t already have one.
Sign up for our free e-newsletter to receive news, bird photos, lure and ID tips, and more delivered to your inbox. The name says it all—Winter King Hawthorn truly will be the King of your winter garden. Depending on the availability of other bird food, the orange-red berries of this mid-sized native tree can hang around until January. Then, grab a seat by the window and watch chickadees, blue jays, cardinals, and cedar waxwings dig in. Winter King Hawthorn (a.k.a. “Hawthorne”) does not sleep during other seasons either. In the spring, clusters of white flowers settle on the branches like freshly fallen snow, accentuating the unique horizontal branching habit providing a nice contrast to the more upright trees in your landscape throughout the year.
This species originates from the Midwest and Southeast, where its hard, weather-resistant wood made it a good candidate for fence posts in days gone by. Many birds appreciate this tree, although they allow us to enjoy the orange-red berries throughout the winter before they dig up. Some butterflies and moths raise their young on leaves, and bees often bloom in the spring. This selection, prized for its abundance of larger-than-normal fruits, was discovered by nurseryman Bob Simpson in Vincennes, Indiana in 1955.
Winter King Hawthorn is a hardy, drought-resistant, cold-hardy tree. A frequent problem with it is its tendency to lose leaves in late summer due to a common leaf disease. This is actually not a bad thing, however, because at that time the fruits are starting to ripen, and the leaves are in the way of the show!
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We did the hard part. Our trees and plants are grown and cared for by the best, local growers for years before they find their forever home in your landscape. Bower & Branch is known for its hard to find, great size and selection. The quality of our trees and plants is consistent with health and vigor—always ready for immediate impact in your garden and instant curb appeal. We never rush our trees to reach ‘grade size.’ Our trees are grown for quality height, vigor, health and age.
We believe in empowering homeowners with the truth about strong, healthy and well-structured plants grown to make the soil after they leave the nursery for home delivery, always fresh inventory from the grower.
Winter King Hawthorn does not need to be pampered and will do in any planting area as long as it gets full sun and has well-drained soil. This hedgerow tree in the country is good even in the heart of the city. Protect the trunk from damage, because the beautiful, silvery bark is thin, and string trimmers can damage it.
Water regularly after the first planting. Once established, they are more tolerant of drought conditions, reducing your hand watering responsibilities.
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During the fall, feed your Winter King Bower & Branch Elements Fertilizer once a year for the first 3 or 4 years – this will give your tree all the nutrients it needs.
Winter King Hawthorn rarely needs pruning, which is a good thing—there’s a reason it’s called Haw-THORN! If you need to prune, do it soon after the tree has flowered and be careful.
Bower & Branch Trees, the real BIG trees, don’t fit in a box! Our large trees require expert delivery and care, that means our large trees are shipped on Bower & Branch trucks. We are the only ones who know how to ship our big and big trees and plants with gentle care.
We deliver your trees and plants directly to your driveway or curb! Ask Bower & Branch about planting services and prices – we’ll be happy to help with installation.
Winter Garden Plants For Wildlife
* Large trees,