A relative of the hawthorn, the mayhaw tree originated in the southeastern United States. Mayhaws grow naturally in boggy areas, and they flower early in the growing season, usually around February. Red, edible fruit develops in mid to late spring, growing 1/2 to 1 inch around. Plant as an edible ornamental or cultivate this tree in the orchard for its tasty fruits. Mayhaw trees grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 and higher.
Prepare the planting site in an area that has good drainage, consistently moist soil and a pH range between 6.0 and 6.5.
Dig out the planting area three feet deep and two to three times as wide as the root ball. Replace enough soil in the bottom of the planting hole until it is the same depth as the nursery pot. Digging out the soil and replacing it loosens the ground under and around the new mayhaw tree for better growth.
Turn the mayhaw tree on its side in the nursery pot next to the planting hole. Hold the base of the trunk with one hand and slide the nursery pot off with the other.
Place the root ball in the center of the planting hole. Support the mayhaw tree with one hand to keep it upright and centered while backfilling the hole with the other hand. Add or remove soil under the roots until the base of the stem sits level with the soil line.
Build up a ring of soil around the edge of the planting hole 6 inches high to hold and channel water down to the roots. Soak the area right after planting or within six hours. Add more soil if is settles during the first watering.
Apply fertilizer to mayhaw trees at the beginning of the growing season between February and March. Texas A&M University recommends using a 5-10-10 slow-release fertilizer. Use 1/2 a pound for trees in their first year, and 1 pound per inch of trunk diameter for older trees.
Harvest the mayhaw fruit in mid to late spring when it ripens naturally on the tree. Spread a tarp or sheet out under the tree and shake it until the fruit falls. Leave fruit that remains attached to the tree until it falls easily.
Things You Will Need
- Texas A&M University Extension; Texas Mayhaws; Marty Baker and George Ray McEachern; January 1997
- Purdue University Center for New Crops and Plant Products; Mayhaw: A New Fruit Crop for the South; Jerry A. Payne and Gerard W. Krewer; August 1997
- Louisiana Mayhaw Association: Welcome to the Louisiana Mayhaw Association!
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources; Fruit Trees: Planting and Care of Young Trees; Jim Carson, et al.