How To Grow & Care For Washington Hawthorn Tree

If you decide to plant a hedge in your garden, then we suggest you get acquainted with such a plant as hawthorn – a beautiful ornamental bush with berries with many useful properties.

Washington hawthorn tree is a shrub or tree that belongs to the Rosaceae family. It reaches a height of 2 to 4 meters. It has spines up to 4 cm long and shiny purple-brown fruits.

The leaves are three-seven-lobed, serrated at the edges, dark green in summer and orange-red in autumn. The flowers are white or pink; the inflorescence is corymbose. Fruits in the form of berries, usually medium-sized, round or oval, with 3-4 hard seeds inside.

It blooms in May – June, the fruits ripen in August – September and have a sweetish, slightly astringent taste.

This shrub of the Rosaceae family, as a rule, grows in sparse dry forests, mainly deciduous, as well as on the edges and along river floodplains. Sometimes Washington hawthorn trees can be found in an open field.

The habitat of this plant is the temperate or partially temperate subtropical zone of the northern hemisphere. There are almost 1200 species in the genus of this shrub, 40 of which grow in our latitudes.

Translated from Greek, hawthorn means “strong”, and this is no coincidence. When you get to know this plant better, you will understand that this definition fully reveals all its properties.

How To Grow & Care For Washington Hawthorn Tree 1
Fruits in the form of berries, usually not large
  • Firstly, this plant is a long-liver; it lives on average for about 300 years.
  • Secondly, its strength is manifested in its astringent properties, which were known as early as the 16th century.
  • And third – magical powers are attributed to hawthorn.

Washington Hawthorn Tree Legends

washington hawthorn tree LEGENDS

There are as many popular names for this plant as there are its species. In different countries, the Washington hawthorn tree is called differently. 

For example, the Germans call it “white thorn”, and the English just call it “thorn”. And it’s not without reason. This is a very thorny plant!

Now it is already difficult to say unequivocally where the Russian name of this plant came from. They say there is a legend about a boyaryn, and the name comes from the word “boyarynya”.

Many Slavic peoples plant this plant around their homes and believe that such a thorny hedge protects the family from evil, preserves the strength of marriage bonds, the honor of the family and the chastity of innocent girls until marriage. 

In addition, thorny bushes will keep wild animals out of the house.

The pagans also argued that one should not saw or break a hawthorn tree, otherwise such a person would be everywhere in trouble, wandering, illness, poverty.

There are many more legends of different peoples about this shrub, but they all boil down to one thing: the Washington hawthorn tree is a symbol of family and happy marriage.

Hawthorn Tree Varieties

The genus Washington hawthorn tree has more than 380 species, as well as many forms and hybrids. But it is the large-fruited garden crops that are in increasing demand, therefore, most often in the open field, you can find the following representatives of the genus.

Large-fruited Hawthorn Tree

washington hawthorn tree LARGE FRUITED

A shrub or small tree with thorns that range in size from 4 to 12 centimeters. It enters the flowering phase in May-June, the fruits ripen towards the end of September, remain on the branches for a long time, do not crumble. It blooms with white, pink or red flowers, collected in thyroid inflorescences.

The fruits can be oval, spherical or oblong. Their ovary does not occur every season, and the presence on the plant will completely depend on weather conditions. If the spring was rainy, then you should not expect fruiting on the bush this season.

The seedling will begin to bear fruit 5-8 years after rooting in the garden, the yield of an adult tree can reach up to 20 kilograms.

Hawthorn Blood Red

GROW hawthorn tree

The species is represented by shrubs or trees, the height of which does not exceed 5 meters. The name of the plant is due to the color of its shoots – red or red-brown. The branches of the species are covered with hard spines. It blooms with white flowers in May and June.

The fruits ripen closer to September, they are red oval berries with sweet and sour pulp and seeds inside. The species stands out for its winter hardiness, therefore it is suitable for growing in cold regions.

Hawthorn Softish

PLANT hawthorn tree

Trees ranging in height from 6 to 8 meters may have one or more trunks. The shoots will be painted in an ash-gray color, growing, forming a tent-like crown. The branches are covered with thin thorns, 3 to 9 centimeters long.

The green mass is ovoid with a pointed apex. In autumn, the dark green color of the leaves changes to reddish brown. The shrub blooms in May with white flowers collected in inflorescences.

The species is notable for high yields, fruits can reach 2 centimeters in length, are colored orange-red with juicy pulp inside.

Hawthorn Pinnate

 hawthorn tree PINATE

A species represented by shrubs or trees. The height of mature plants can reach 6 meters. In nature, it is found in China, Korea, and in the east of Russia, therefore in some sources, it is called Far Eastern hawthorn or Chinese Hawthorn tree.

The hawthorn is thornless, sometimes it contains a few straight needles, 1-2 centimeters long. The bark of the trunk has a dark gray color, young shoots will be painted yellowish-gray.

The leaves of the culture are shiny, pinnately incised, ovate or oblong-ovate. The species blooms in May, the flowers are white, collected in inflorescences with bare pedicels. Fruits are spherical or pear-shaped, up to 2 centimeters long. The color is bright red, ripens from August to October.

Pontic Hawthorn

hawthorn PLANT

A heat-loving culture, found in its natural environment in Turkey, Crimea, Central Asia. Among gardeners, the cultivated species are in demand due to the complete absence of thorns on the shoots, which greatly facilitates the harvesting process.

In addition, among a large number of varieties, it is this species that has the most fleshy fruits with a yellow color and an apple flavor.

Also, the demand for Pontic hawthorn is due to its decorative attractiveness. Shrubs and trees look very impressive due to a slight pubescence, reminiscent of silver pollen on a green mass. The height of an adult plant can reach 5-6 meters.

The Canadian Hawthorn

CANADIAN  hawthorn tree

Trees with a spreading crown, grow up to 5-7 meters. The culture enters the flowering phase in May-June. The species blooms with white-pink flowers, fruiting occurs in August.

The yield is average, the fruits are spherical. They can be colored orange, red or black.

Washington Hawthorn Tree: Benefits & Uses

Before use, be sure to consult a doctor, do not self-medicate. Be careful!

In medicine, both folk and traditional, this plant has been used for 200 years. It is effective in diseases of the central nervous system, heart diseases (heart failure, heart rhythm disturbances, myocardial infarction), hypertension, insomnia, increases blood circulation in the vessels, and treats gastrointestinal diseases.

Useful Properties of Washington Hawthorn Tree:

USES washington hawthorn tree
  • preparations based on Washington hawthorn tree relieve anxiety, nervousness, normalize blood pressure, fight insomnia;
  • the juice of this plant relieves heartache;
  • decoctions of fruits and flowers help women with menopause;
  • water infusion is used for diseases of the nervous and cardiovascular systems;
  • a decoction of the fruits is used for sleep disturbances, atherosclerosis, and with the addition of sugar – for headaches;
  • juice from fresh flowers will ease the condition with a heart attack;
  • extract removes bile from the body, lowers blood sugar, improves performance and increases attention.

Washington hawthorn tree contains a large amount of pectin, which removes cholesterol and toxins from the body. It is rich in vitamin C, which is necessary for colds and for their prevention. The flavonoids present in berries have a positive effect on strength and heart rate.

How To Grow & Care For Washington Hawthorn Tree 3
Washington hawthorn tree helps with many diseases

Along with many useful properties, this plant also has contraindications. Preparations prepared on the basis of the Washington hawthorn tree are contraindicated for people who, by the nature of their activities, need increased attention.

The abuse of such drugs leads to drowsiness and general weakness, therefore, public transport drivers and truckers need to be careful with hawthorn-based drugs.

Pregnant and lactating women are also not recommended to use Washington hawthorn tree preparations. This can threaten miscarriage due to individual intolerance to such drugs. In addition, breast milk may decrease or disappear altogether.

People with low blood pressure, with general inhibited reactions, should also be careful.

As a medicinal plant, the Washington hawthorn tree is useful, and at the same time harmful and even dangerous in the absence of knowledge about it. Before use, be sure to consult a doctor, do not self-medicate. Be careful!

How To Plant & Care For a Washington Hawthorn Tree

Soil selection

Hawthorn grows well in heavy and fertile soils. If the soil in the garden does not meet these characteristics, you can prepare the soil mixture for the planting pit yourself. Experts recommend using:

  • humus;
  • peat;
  • sand;
  • lime;
  • manure.

Planting Washington Hawthorn Tree

PLANTING washington hawthorn tree

Now you decided to plant washington hawthorn tree in your garden. So let’s start!

Propagate it by shoots, grafting or seeds. It is a light-loving plant, so do not plant it in the shade of other shrubs and trees.

The plant can be planted separately or as a beautiful hedge. It will be a solid barrier thanks to its long spines. The hedges can be given the desired shape and height, then it will become a beautiful element of garden landscape design.

If you want to plant this shrub as a separate plant, then prepare the northeastern part of the site for it so that it protects other plants from the cold. Dig a 50 x 50 cm hole, plant a seedling and water well.

The soil needs to be prepared. To do this, dig it up, add sand and peat (if clay soil), sand and clay (if peaty) and loam and peat (if the soil is sandy).

Since the roots of this shrub are well developed, you should not worry about whether it will take root. He will give a good harvest and will be able to withstand severe frosts!

How To Grow & Care For Washington Hawthorn Tree 4
Hedge-shaped Washington hawthorn tree

Planting is carried out in the spring, after the soil thaws (before the buds bloom on the trees), or in the fall during leaf fall, before the first frost.

For planting, bushes are used at the age of 3-5 years. Before planting, the seedlings dug out with a lump of earth are dipped in a mushy composition of clay, earth and water with the addition of manure and a few grains of potassium permanganate.

Leave a distance of 2-3 meters between the bushes, so that later you do not have to replant. Immediately after planting, it is important not to forget about abundant watering and mulching.

If you have a hedge, you should prune it annually. Remove broken and dry branches and cut out growth. In the first year, cut off all shoots up to 15 cm from the soil level, in summer, slightly shorten the side branches.

How To Grow & Care For Washington Hawthorn Tree 5
Every 2-3 years, fertilize with organic and mineral fertilizers

Next year, cut the main branches and side branches in half to leave a few centimeters. Prune the side branches again in the summer. For the third year, only cut and trim from the top, then shape with a pruner every 3-4 weeks.

Apply organic and mineral fertilizers every 2-3 years.

This is a highly decorative shrub, the species and varieties of which are often found in modern summer cottages. The Washington hawthorn tree hedge is spectacular with its decorative leaves, red fruits and long thorns.

You will get such a hedge dense and almost impassable. Will look good in English landscape gardens, in solitary, group and mixed plantings. For these purposes, two types of hawthorn are suitable – prickly (common) and monopest.

Caring for Washington Hawthorn Tree

Disease Protection

washington hawthorn tree

Most often, hawthorn suffers from the following diseases.

  • Powdery mildew: Signs of the disease are spider webs or felt plaque on the green mass and shoots. For treatment, it is necessary to remove already damaged parts of the bush, to carry out treatment with drugs – “Vectra”, “Skor”, “Cumulus”. As prophylaxis, after 14 days, spraying is repeated.
  • Brown spot: The disease is characterized by the appearance of large brown-brown spots on the upper side of the leaves. At the same time, the fruiting bodies of the fungus are formed on the lower part. For treatment, copper oxychloride or Bordeaux mixture is used.
  • Rust. A fungal disease affects the aerial part of the plant. With a strong infection, spindle-shaped swellings appear on the branches, yellow spots on the foliage. Treatment is carried out with a Bordeaux mixture with the obligatory pruning of the affected areas.

Pest control

PEST washington hawthorn tree

Dangerous insects for Washington hawthorn trees are:

  • Green apple aphid. The pest feeds on the sap of the culture. With a large number of pest colonies, the shoots of the plant are deformed, the leaves wither prematurely. The fight against insects is carried out by spraying the aerial part with tobacco or garlic infusion.
  • Rose leaf roll. The pest spends a clutch of eggs in the bark of the plant, from which caterpillars emerge. They feed on the kidneys, destroy the ovaries. The fight against caterpillars is carried out by treatment with “Chlorophos”.
  • Scale apple comma-shaped: The pest feeds on the sap of the culture. It will be possible to destroy the insect by spraying with “Fyfanon”.


Growing a large-fruited hawthorn plant will allow the gardener to acquire a beautiful and useful plant, and will make it possible to harvest a good harvest of tasty fruits with fairly simple care. To achieve this, you only need to study the main characteristics of the varieties and the peculiarities of their cultivation in a particular climate.