Bareroot Hawthorn Hedge Plants
Crataegus monogynaHedge Plants
- Height: 1m to 6m
- Soil: All soils except a swamp
- Use: Thorny Informal Native Hedging
- Single Row: 3/m
- Double row: 5/m
- Ultra hardy everywhere in the UK
Crataegus monogyna: Bareroot Hawthorn Hedging
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Hawthorn, known as quickthorn or whitethorn in some parts, grows into a pretty and impenetrable hedge in a hurry. Unlike many hedge plants, it is blessed with three seasons of interest. Spring boasts a froth of simple, white slightly scented flowers that stand out against the blackness of the wood. Summer is a mass of healthy, dark green, lobed leaves, and then autumn sees astonishingly red haws. In winter, the spiny silhouettes of the black branches look spectacular on a frosty day. It is extremely tough and easy to grow.
- Sold as Bareroot whips and older plants ranging in size from 40-120 cm
- Final hedge height: 1 - 6m
- Soil: Just about any, except fully waterlogged or pure sand.
- Use: Stockproof, vandal proof, informal and farm hedging
- Single Row: plant at 3 per metre.
- 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
Growing Hawthorn Hedges
It is easier to ask: where won't it grow? It won't grow at water level in a swamp or in pure sand on the beach, and it will struggle in truly full shade. With that said, I have seen wizened old hawthorns growing on a small raised mound in the middle of a bog less than one metre above the water, as well as on pretty poor, really sandy soil just behind a beach with no cover from the salt winds, and in between buildings in the city where it probably got three hours of sun in midsummer at most. Temporary winter waterlogging is no problem at all.
Spacing a Hawthorn hedge:
Standard country hedging: plant at 3 per metre, 33cm apart in a single row, or 5 per metre in a staggered double row, which has a W shape viewed top-down.
Hawthorn in your Garden
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 care to breach. For this purpose, it is fine on its own, but for the most pleasing and natural look, it should be mixed up with your favourite country hedge plants, which you can design yourself or buy ready to go in our six-species mixed conservation hedging packs (these include Britain's most beautiful wild shrub, the Guelder Rose, Viburnum opulus).
It is a top choice as a specimen tree (ideal for small gardens) in particularly exposed, windy or coastal conditions, where it typically takes on a sculptural, gnarled shape that looks fantastic in winter, and we recommend the more ornamental Hawthorn varieties for this purpose.
Did You Know?
Over 150 insects will call your hawthorn home, from the bumblebee, lacewing, ladybird 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: slow worms and toads love a nice, wide country hedge as well.
Crataegus monogyna is a true native plant and, because it is so widespread and so useful, it has a plethora of local names: Haw, Hawthorne, Quickthorn, Whitethorn, Maythorn, Mayblossom, and May Tree. In country hedge jargon, the abbreviation "thorn" usually refers to Hawthorn.
Hawthorn is literally synonymous with hedging: Haw, which also refers to the fruit, is derived from the Old English word for hedge. The blossom is known as May, as in "Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, and summer's lease hath all too short a date" or "Ne'er cast a clout till May be out", which means that one should not start leaving ones warm winter clothes (clouts) at home until the hawthorn is flowering. The nursery rhyme "Here we come gathering nuts in May" is probably a corruption of "knots of May", meaning bouquets of hawthorn blossom (there are no nuts to harvest in Spring).
It was probably a hawthorn hedge through which the handsome prince had to hack his way to reach Sleeping Beauty.
Growing Quickthorn hedges:
A Hawthorn hedge is very tough and will grow anywhere in the UK, in any soil, apart from extremely wet, boggy areas or soil that is too sandy. The only essential preparation is to kill the weeds in a strip a metre wide along the planting site: improving the soil should not be necessary. If your soil is exceptionally poor and dry, then digging in some well rotted manure and/or compost can help, and in our eyes Rootgrow is as good as essential.
Watch our video on how to plant a country hedge for full details. With regards to the instruction to hard prune each plant, cut the 60/80cm size whips down by half and cut the 90/120cm size bushes down by one quarter of their height.
Make sloping cuts slightly above an outward facing bud. They will now branch out from there, thickening the base of the hedge. Remember to water establishing plants during dry weather for at least a year after planting.
Hedge Planting Accessories:
Prepare your site for planting by killing the weeds and grass with Neudorff WeedFree Plus. or use a hedge planting pack with sheets of mulch fabric and pegs to hold it down.
If you are planting in an area with rabbit and/or deer, you will need to use a plastic spiral guard for each plant, supported by a bamboo cane.