Minimum Spacing: 8’ (or 3’ or closer as a hedge)
Light: prefers full sun
Shade: tolerates partial shade
Moisture: likes moisture, adaptable to growing conditions
Pollination: self sowing; propagates with suckers or shoots
Harvest begins at: (missing info)
Interesting Growing Considerations: very thorny!, heavy animal/insect feeder, attracts pollinators, highly medicinal, showy in spring and fall, easy to duplicate, can be grown as a hedge or living fence
Overview: Hawthorn, considered a large shrub or small tree, with prominent, long, straight, sharp thorns (harvest fruit/flowers carefully!), 1 to 5 inches a long that have been used as fishing hooks and needles by indigenous people. Haw is an old English word for “hedge,” so the tree’s name means “thorny hedge.” Hawthorn wood can be used to make tools, etc. In the Spring, the hawthorn is covered with beautiful, cup-shaped, white (or pink) flowers, arranged in flat-topped clusters. The blossoms can be bad smelling, but scent disappears when dried. The fruits emerge in late summer or fall and are usually round or pear-shaped, bright red, to almost pinkish in color. They resemble very tiny apples. They deepen in color by late summer to fall and are then ready to harvest. If you cut the fruit open you’ll find 1 to 5 hard, rather large, seeds which are not edible. Birds, squirrels, and other small creatures eat the fruit and pollinators go wild over the blossoms.
Planting: Dig a hole deep and twice as wide as the rootball, place the Hawthorn in the hole, so it sits 1 inch or so above the surrounding soil. Fill the hole half full with soil and 2 gallons of water. Let the water fully drain before adding the rest of the original soil. Tamp soil down lightly. Plant in full to partial sun. Water them frequently the first season after planting; then only during drought. Fertilize the following spring with ¼ cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer spread in a 4 foot circle around the base of the tree. Hawthorn trees have a dense form and don’t need a lot of pruning but can be shaped to more of a tree form with pruning and by removing suckers that sprout from the roots. You can also grow them as an impenetrable living hedge, close together for a fence, windbreak, or other natural barrier. Hawthorns are susceptible to rust and fireblight, and may become infested with aphids, scale or mites. Improve air flow by pruning and making sure plants have good drainage.
Harvests & Uses: Hawthorn wood, leaf, fruit can all be utilized. Leaf buds are reportedly eaten in salad. Leaves, flowers, and fruit can be used for tea and medicinals, dried or tinctured. The fruit is perhaps valued more for medicine then as a food. Fruit must be separated from the seeds (not edible) but is high in pectin (great for jams/jelly). Fruit is reportedly rather tasteless and could be added to blends for heart/cardiovascular health. Wood can be harvested for making tools.
Medicinally the fruit is most known for its heart healthy benefits and is a good source of vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12, Choline, inositol, PABA, flavonoids and sugar, bioflavanoids, and other substances. It has been known to aid and even cure heart diseases, ailments, and woes. Greatly reduces blood pressure, effective treatment for angina (chest pains), lowers cholesterol, decreases inflammation in the body, intestines infections, anxiety, grief, and infection, antioxidants and energizing.