Hawthorn, sometimes called quickthorn, is for those of you who want a pretty and impenetrable hedge in a hurry. Hawthorn hedging is eminently practical as it will grow anywhere (bar pure sand or complete marsh neither of which will probably exist in your garden) and so is fool-proof. Unlike most hedge plants Crataegus is blessed with three seasons of interest: spring boasts a froth of the simple, white slightly scented flowers that stand out against the blackness of the wood and are known as the may after which you can finally cast your clout. Summer is a mass of dark green lobed leaves and then autumn sees astonishingly red haws proliferate. Even in winter the spiny silhouettes of the black wood look spectacular on a frosty day.
Using Hawthorn Hedging
Hawthorn's charm is its informality and its virtue is its resilience. Once established you will have a thick, wiry hedge that no intruder would dare to breach and a thing of beauty for several months of the year. It was probably a hawthorn hedge through which the handsome prince had to hack his way to reach Sleeping Beauty! Those of a less romantic nature won't like its thorns so plant it away from paths and thoroughfares in the garden. Best suited as a perimeter hedge it will act as a five star hotel for a huge range of wildlife. If a pure hawthorn hedge is a bit puritan fro your taste, then have a look at our mixed Conservation Hedging pack which is a mixture of hawthorn and five other species. They do not compromise on hardiness and include Britain's most beautiful wild shrub the Guelder Rose (Viburnum opulus). Hawthorn can also be grown as a specimen where you need a tree to withstand particularly exposed, windy or coastal conditions. It often takes on sculptural and gnarled shapes that can look fantastic in winter.
- Sold as Bareroot whips and older plants ranging in size from 40-120 cm
- Final hedge height: 1 - 6m
- Soil: Hawthorn grows in just about any soil
- Use: Stockproof, vandal proof, informal and farm hedging
- Single Row: plant at 3 per metre. Watch our video on how to plant a country hedge if this is new to you.
- Double row: plant at 5 per metre in a zig zag
- Colour: mid green leaves with white flowers and red haws
- Very tough, disease resistant and thorny
Hawthorn - the Ritz for wildlife
Over 150 insects will call your hawthorn hedge home, from the bumble bee and earwig to the hawthorn shield bug, all of which provide valuable food for blue tits, wrens and garden spiders. Greenfinches, chaffinches, yellowhammers, fieldfares and many more birds feast on the haws in the autumn and many, like the wren and blackbird, will nest there too. Hawthorn hedges provide valuable habitat for slow worms, lacewings, toads and ladybirds. Anyone with a budding naturalist in the family should have a hawthorn hedge, if only for the extraordinary range of fauna that it supports.
Hawthorn is a true native plant and because it is so widespread it has a plethora of local names - Haw, Hawthorne, Quickthorn, Whitethorn, Maythorn, Mayblossom, May. In country hedge terms, "thorn" usually refers to Hawthorn.