A Step-By-Step Guide To Grow A Hawthorne Tree

A Hawthorn Tree

Emma Downey

Emma Downey
Gardening Expert

Updated on 12/4/2022

Gardeners and landscape designers can access some of the most aesthetically beautiful ornamental small trees and shrubs in the Crataegus genus to use when designing or gardening in outdoor spaces. It is the ideal size for use as a single specimen in more compact settings. Still, its visual appeal is maximized when cultivated in more significant numbers in more expansive areas. The individual species that make up the genus frequently discover that they are vulnerable to problems such as diseases or insects. Even while integrated pest control is helpful, selective culture and grafting ultimately resolve the issues plaguing this genus. Grafted or cultivar hawthornes are currently the most popular Hawthorne tree used in decorative horticulture.

One of the problems bred out of certain hawthorne varieties, in addition to those caused by disease and insects, is their frightening thorns, which may grow to a length of up to three inches on certain species. The efforts of individuals in the nursery sector to produce variations resistant to disease have made it possible for the general people to take full advantage of this stunning genus.

Trees Of The Hawthorn Family

  • Botanical Name Crataegus spp.
  • Rosaceae is the family name.
  • Types of Plants: Flowering trees and big shrubs
  • Dimensions at Maturity: 15–50 Meters in Height, 5–20 Meters in Width
  • Sun Exposure Full sun
  • Type of Soil Moist, with Good Drainage
  • The pH of the soil: is somewhat acidic.
  • Bloom Time May, and the beginning of June
  • White and pink are the colors of the flower.
  • Different species have different hardiness zones.
  • Europe, Asia, North Africa, and North America are the native regions.

How To Maintain The Hawthorne Tree

How To Maintain The Hawthorns

When it comes to successfully cultivating a hawthorne, there are three essential components. You will have to come to terms with the fact that they are vulnerable to specific problems and acknowledge that you will have to take some action to address those problems.

You will need to be more watchful than usual with your integrated pest management program if you want to go with native species, even though this has always been a fantastic concept. It is a beautiful illustration of a tree for which it would be beneficial to call in a trained arborist to perform annual tree maintenance.

It would be best if you made it a point to conduct some research and determine what kinds of pests and illnesses are prevalent in your region and whether they will impact the species or variety you have decided to go with. You can acquire this information by contacting either the Plant Sentinel Network or the extension department in your area.


Last but not least, if you have selected a kind that still has its thorns, you should prepare to position it in a location that is out of the way of walkways and areas where children are likely to play. The thorns, which are sharp enough to puncture the skull, can create deadly piercing wounds and severe infections that can lead to chronic illnesses.

  • Branches of a hawthorne tree that are covered in clusters of white blooms.
  • Evgeniya Vlasova is the author of "The Spruce."
  • Components of a hawthorne tree that are covered in clusters of delicate pink flowers
  • Branches of the hawthorne tree that only have a few leaves and are covered in clusters of bright red berries

A Light Source  

A Light Source

This blooming genus will thrive in an environment with a lot of direct sunlight. The number of flowers the tree produces will noticeably decrease if it is moved to a site with nothing less.

Hawthorne Tree Soil

Surprisingly, considering how delicate the genus is, it may thrive in any soil, and pH level, provided the ground has adequate drainage. The plant's overall health and the number of blooms it produces will not be noticeably impacted in any way by the state of the soil. The best soil for hawthornes is slightly acidic, somewhat damp, and well-drained; nevertheless, the ground itself is not the most important consideration when working with hawthornes.

Water Consumption

Water Consumption

To establish your Hawthorne, you will need to water it frequently and in large amounts for at least the first couple of years. To achieve this, it is preferable to water it once every week. Using a set of calipers, measure the circumference of your tree where you will kneel, and it will tell you how much water your tree needs. After that, water it at a rate of 10 gallons per inch each week for the following two seasons while periodically checking your measurements.

The soil around your tree should be kept damp but not drenched to ensure that it produces an abundance of blossoms. If this calls for further watering, you will likely have to water as required. It is possible to assist the tree in keeping its moisture by applying a layer of mulch around its base at a depth of two inches and extending it out to the dripline without contacting the trunk.

Temperature As Well As Relative Humidity

Because the genus is distributed over so many continents, the level of cold resistance will vary widely depending on the cultivar and the species. Before you decide to plant something, you should first determine whether or not the particular species or cultivar in question will thrive in your region's climate.

Hawthorne Tree Fertilizer

Applying fertilizer to hawthorne bushes in the autumn as part of your annual to-do list should be something you always remember to do. Because it is a tree that produces flowers, it will benefit significantly from the additional boost of nutrients you give it. If you fertilize your Hawthorne with a granular slow-release fertilizer designed for blooming trees and shrubs, you will see an explosion of blossoms on the plant.

Trees Of The Hawthorne Family

Trees Of The Hawthorn Family

If you use a non-native species, choose a hawthorne cultivar resistant to disease and insects. A wide variety of Crataegus is accessible, and many species are resistant to fire blight and rust and have a stunning appearance. You must select the right tree for your region from the available options. The following are some of the most well-liked alternatives in the nursery business:

Hawthorne species are native to Canada, resistant to cold, and may reach heights of up to 30 feet. It can thrive in urban environments and is resistant to pollutants.

The Washington Hawthorne, or C. phaenopyrum, is a small species of Hawthorne with very brilliant berries and dramatic fall coloration.

Trees Of The Hawthorn Family

Cockspur Hawthorne, also known as C. crus-Galli, is a low-growing species of Hawthorne characterized by large branches and thicket-like growth with branches that reach the ground. In the autumn, it produces a rainbow of colors on its leaves.

A little shrub-like Hawthorne, thus the particular name, the Copenhagen Hawthorne, only grows to around 10 feet. Its scientific name is C. intricata. It is well-known for the benefit it provides to animals both as a place for them to live and as a source of food for pollinators.

Pruning Process


Trimming a hawthorne is work that needs to be done carefully and with the appropriate gear, including a helmet, eye protection, and leather gloves. The thorns on a hawthorne are between one and one and a half and three inches in length and are as hard as nails. It means that they can puncture the skin and, with sufficient effort, bone without any difficulty. Thorns are known to transmit germs, which can make puncture wounds even more painful than they already are.

If hawthorne trees are not adequately taught to have a single leader and outward branches, they may instead acquire tendencies similar to those of thickets. To train your tree, you will first want to develop a single leader and then prune away any low-hanging branches that make a pointed V-shaped crotch or an X-shaped junction with another department. After the leaves have fallen from the tree at the end of autumn each year, you should perform this maintenance task. You should continue to train your Hawthorne in this manner until it has been molded into the form you want it to have. Because this is a potentially hazardous tree to prune, it is recommended to leave it in the hands of an experienced professional after it has grown too large to be trimmed from the ground.

Pests And Diseases That Are Commonly Seen On Plants

Pests And Diseases That Are Commonly Seen On Plants

The most common diseases that affect hawthornes are hawthorne rust and fire blight. The fungus Gymnosporangium globosum is responsible for causing the illness known as hawthorne rust, which affects trees. This illness rarely results in the death of trees, but it will always disfigure them. Worse, once a tree is afflicted with the disease, it may either be managed or cut down, but it cannot treat it. Because of this, it is essential to consider selecting hawthornes that are resistant to rust. An excessive amount of moisture on trees and in the soil around trees is the root cause of rust. You may solve this problem by not overwatering your tree and pruning it in a way that allows enough ventilation.

Hawthornes can become infected with a bacterial disease known as fire blight. The illness causes the blooms and shoots to wither and die, and it also causes the branches to die back. In extreme circumstances, it may result in the death of the trees. Remove diseased branches from your hawthorne tree by proper pruning to prevent blight spread and save the tree from certain death. Planting resistant cultivars are one way to protect crops against blight.