How to Prune Yellowleaf Hawthorn


The yellowleaf hawthorn or Crataegus flava is also known as the southern haw and yellow-fruited thorn. This is a deciduous tree which, when mature, can reach a height of 20- to 30-feet tall. The yellowleaf hawthorn provides seasonal interest to the landscape with its white blossoms in the spring, its dark green leaves in the summer and its colorful yellow leaves in the fall. The yellowleaf hawthorn will require pruning to remove diseased or damaged branches, to remove branches for safety or appearances, to remove select branches to allow light through the canopy and to remove any suckers at the base of the tree or those that arise from the roots.

Step 1

Prune away any damaged or diseased branch or limb as soon as possible, making a clean cut at the break. Do this as soon as you notice the broken or diseased branch or limb.

Step 2

Locate the branch collar (This is on the underside of the branch where it connects to the trunk.) and the branch bark ridge. (This is on the topside of the branch where it connects to the trunk.) Cut right in front of the branch bark ridge and the branch collar; you do not want to damage the branch bark ridge or the branch collar, and you do not want to leave a stub. (Remove branches for safety or appearances.) By following this procedure, you will safeguard the health of your tree. This pruning procedure can be done during early spring or winter when the tree is in a dormant state.

Step 3

Visually inspect your mature tree for any deadwood; thinning or opening of the crown of the tree is usually done by a professional due to the heights involved. Arborists are experts in their field and know what branches/limbs should be cut for the integrity and appearance of the tree. This can be done in early spring or late fall.

Step 4

Remove any suckers at the base of the tree or any that you see growing from the roots. Suckers take away valuable nutrients from the tree, so remove them as soon as you see them.

Tips and Warnings

  • Leave any pruning of branches that are near electrical wires to the professionals; this should be left to the electric company. Know your limitations; do not try to prune high/out of reach branches. Call a professional.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruning shears
  • Lopping shears
  • Pole pruner
  • Tree saw


  • United States Department of Agriculture
  • Lenore Country Florida
  • Northern
Keywords: yellowleaf hawthorn pruning, deciduous tree seasonal interest, damaged diseased branch prune away

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.