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How to Grow Hawthorn Hedges

Hawthorns (Crataegus monogyna) are deciduous shrub-like trees that make formal-looking, five- to 10-foot-tall hedges. Hawthorn trees have small, glossy green leaves, with fragrant white flowers that blossom in the spring. In the fall and winter, Hawthorns sprout clusters of red, berry-like fruits called “haws” that attract birds. You can create an attractive hedge by planting Hawthorn trees in single or double rows. The sharp thorns growing among the stems make a Hawthorn hedge a security barrier in addition to a privacy hedge. Hawthorns are easy to care for, hardy and can withstand drastic pruning.

Select a planting site for your Hawthorn hedge where you want a privacy screen or barrier in full sun to partial shade. Measure the desired length of your hedge row to determine how many Hawthorn shrubs you’ll need, counting about one shrub per one foot to a foot and a half of hedge.

Dig planting holes for your Hawthorn shrubs along the desired hedge line. Space the planting holes about 12 to 18 inches apart.

Mix into the displaced soil some organic compost or aged manure. Gently remove the Hawthorns from the planter containers and place the root balls into the planting holes with the Hawthorn plants standing up straight.

Fill in the planting holes with the displaced soil until you’ve filled in the holes to the level just below the root collar. Pack the soil firmly around the roots, ensuring that the root collar is above the soil surface. Water the Hawthorns deeply, soaking the soil down to the root zones.

Cut off the tops of each Hawthorn plant to trim them in half. Cut diagonally right above a bud that faces outward, alternating the buds on the right and left on every other shrub.

Prune your Hawthorn hedges twice each year, once in early summer and once in the fall. Shear the hedges using hedge cutters to maintain the desired height and shape. Thin out all dead, diseased or broken branches.

Tip

To reduce stress from snow accumulation on the Hawthorn shrubs, and to allow enough light and air circulation to reach the entire plant, always trim your Hawthorn hedge to make the top part of the hedge slightly narrower than the bottom.

Water your Hawthorn hedges during long dry spells or times of drought.

Warning

Don’t plant Hawthorn hedges if you live in an extremely cold region that has temperatures in the winter below -35 degrees Fahrenheit. Hawthorn hedges grow best in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 8.

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