Also known as thornapple, hawthorn is a thorny shrub of the Rosaceae family that is easily identified by its delicate scent and beautiful white inflorescences. Used to create flower beds and hedgerows, this deciduous ornamental plant blooms in the month of May, giving the garden fragrance with its subtle scent. Undemanding in terms of maintenance, hawthorn is a particularly easy-to-grow shrub.

Highly valued for its fragrant inflorescences, hawthorn is a shrub of which the final size varies between 10 and 23 feet once maturity is reached. Ideal for flower beds, defensive hedges and informal hedges, this decorative plant is praised for its anxiolytic and sedative properties, thus improving sleep and calm during periods of stress or nervousness. In addition, hawthorn has amazing heart-protective properties, which perfectly explains why it is included today in the composition of many drugs. By early fall, hawthorn produces red berries that can be eaten as is or, even better, turned into delicious jelly. Often wild, this thorny shrub comes in many species that differ by the colour of their flowers. Thus, although the vast majority of species generally produce white or light pink flowers, other varieties such as “Paul’s Scarlet” produce sumptuous deep red inflorescences. In terms of maintenance, hawthorn is a very undemanding shrub that mostly grows in the wild without any particular care.

How to plant hawthorn?

Although hawthorn is not difficult to grow, it is essential that it benefit from a sunny exposure in order to grow and flourish as soon as the warm weather returns. To that extent, put your plant in the ground in a place that is exposed to sunlight throughout the day. For successful growth, it is advisable to plant hawthorn in autumn, before the onset of cold weather, or upon the return of spring, once temperatures have softened. With regard to soil type, it will be necessary to choose land of neutral pH tending toward clay. Prior to planting, take care to dig a hole of which the depth favours good root development, and amend the soil with natural fertilizer after previously airing it out. Then, moisten the rootball to stimulate the plant’s recovery and place it in the dug hole. Seal the hole by covering it with earth and water your young shrub. If your hawthorn is intended for a hedge, do not forget to take into account the size and volume the shrub will have once it reaches maturity, so as to leave enough space between different seedlings. Thus, your selected plants and shrubs will be much more likely to thrive and develop harmoniously, creating a more natural and successful hedge.

Hawthorn maintenance

Easy to grow, hawthorn requires no special care after being planted. Of course, it is essential to water your shrubs regularly to prevent the roots from drying out and dying. After the first two or three years, it will also be possible to trim your shrub’s branches in the spring if you think it needs to regain vitality. In terms of disease, beware of apple scab, a virulent fungus that is particularly harmful to the fruit trees’ health. Characterized by the appearance of brown spots and cracks on all leaves, flowers and fruits, this progressive disease eventually causes the shrub’s total deterioration and weakening. To keep your plant from being subjected to such side effects, be sure to regularly trim the branches that could prevent the plant from being well-ventilated. If contaminated, dispose of all infected parts you have collected on the ground by permanently destroying them with fire. Furthermore, avoid resorting to overly aggressive chemical treatments and instead give priority to the use of softer products such as sulphur.

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Published in Trees and shrubs by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011