How to Prune Black Hawthorn


The black hawthorn is a large shrub found in the Pacific Northwest. Used for erosion control along banks and ditches, black hawthorn also provides food and shelter for gamebirds and small mammals like squirrels. The black hawthorn can grow up to 35 feet tall and has small clusters of flowers that produce fruits that are dark red and purple. The leaves are smooth and dark green with serrated tips. The black hawthorn is found growing in lower elevations ranging from 2,000 to 5,400 feet and prefers deep and moist soils.

Step 1

Prune the black hawthorn in the winter or early spring. This facilitates abundant growth for the following season.

Step 2

Remove the tops of the black hawthorn using pruning shears in order to maintain one long stem leader and to encourage the hawthorn to grow tall. Prune all lateral branches that are gnarled and old.

Step 3

Prune a broken or diseased branch by removing the entire branch. Remove all insect-infected shoots to avoid contaminating the shrub.

Step 4

For young black hawthorn shrubs, prune to one central shoot, keeping 1 or 2 stems on either side of the plant. Stems shooting up from the roots, or suckers, should be removed as soon as they are noticeable.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • Black Hawthorn Plant Guide: USDA
Keywords: black hawthorn, pruning black hawthorn, cutting black hawthorn

About this Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on and Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.