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Keeping hawthorn as a shrub


By Elleme

Greater London, England Eng

Hi all, I bought a barerooted whip of hawthorn the other day, it's about 2ft tall. I have stuck it next to the self-sown pyracantha I've been growing for a while. My long term plan is to keep both of these at a height of about 6ft.

Do I need to pinch out the leading tip now or should I leave it until it has grown a bit higher, if so how high roughly?

On plant Crataegus monogyna



Hi Elleme. I think you should let it keep growing. unless it fails to branch out when new growth starts . It will make several feet of growth quite quickly and usually forms plenty of side shoots. I have one which is now 7ft. high and is trimmed into two or three tiers. If you dont mind the prickles it makes a fine species for Topiary.. By letting it grow on up you will be able to plant underneath it

17 Dec, 2008


Thanks Poaannua. I'm pretty thorn/prickle tolerant on the whole, I planted Berberis frikartii earlier this year and for a smallish plant that one was incredibly well-armed! Will have to get better gardening gloves!

17 Dec, 2008


If you want a good strong Hawthorn fairly quickly(3 years) after planting your whip cut 2 thirds off it it will then branch low down. If you leave it as Poaannua suggests it will continue to grow tall but when you prune it it will not branch at the bottom. This is how lots of new hedges are planted by good farmers.

18 Dec, 2008


Elleme, sorry to muscle in on your question but while we are on the subject ..... would Poaannua and Wyeboy be able to tell me how long to leave a hawthorn hedge growing if I want it laying properly. Thinking of setting 40cm plants to make a 50m long hedge after Christmas but would like it layed in the future. I guess I would need long, strong uprights for this. Many thanks, Dawn

18 Dec, 2008


If you cut off the 2 thirds as I suggested and then shape as it is growing, you can get a very decent hedge within 4 yrs without having the expence of laying it. If you wish to lay it, you would have to wait about 6 years or more. I would also suggest if you live in the country, plant some other indeginous plants as well as hawthorn, such as elm and the occassional dogrose, makes a lovely natural hedge.

18 Dec, 2008


Thanks Wyeboy, your advice is appreciated, looks like it's decision time for me.

18 Dec, 2008


a basic rule of thumb ive found personaly is the more you clip it/nip the heads out the bushier it gets unlike human hair that does not get bushier the more you shave it .trust me i know lol

18 Dec, 2008


I have put a photo of the HAWTHORN which I have written of above in my photos on this site. I thought it an idea to be able to use the space beneath and not have too much foliage below.

18 Dec, 2008


Thanks all. On the one hand there's a short fence behind the shrubs and I don't really need dense cover lower down. On the other hand I probably need it a bit denser than Poannua's example so I think I'll be cutting it a bit earlier.

19 Dec, 2008



19 Dec, 2008

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