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By Keithb

United Kingdom Gb

I have 3 Hawthorn trees in my garden none of which ever produce flowers. Two were grown from berry's and one was bought mail order when it was little more than a twig. I have had these trees for about 15 years and they are now about 7 feet tall. They are growing in an acidic soil in a south west facing garden. I had wanted them to produce berries for the birds but am disappointed that all I get is foliage but no fruit. They look quite healthy. Is there a likely reason for the lack of flowers - should I cut my losses and buy new trees?



I'm mystified as to why they're not flowering - they're not fussy about soil conditions, don't have any particular requirements, so unless you're hacking them back in midwinter and removing any flowering growths, I can't think of an explanation. Are they in a very exposed position and do you live in a particularly cold part of the country, where it might be possible that flowers abort because its too cold?

15 Jun, 2012


Especially since a southwest exposure would cause the buds to swell early, losing some of their resistance to a late frost. Are they producing spurs (short branchlets) on the older twigs? If so, do you see dry remains of buds at the tips of those spurs in spring?

15 Jun, 2012


We are not particularly exposed although we do live near the North West Coast. However between us and the sea there are acres of National Trust land that is awash with Hawthorn all of which flower profusely. They are far more exposed to sea winds than my sheltered garden. We do get plent of new growth every year and the trees increase in height - just no flowers.

Thanks for your interest. I can see a trip to a nursery coming on.

16 Jun, 2012


Let's hope, if you buy new plants, they don't have the same problem. I'm wracking my brains for some kind of explanation, but I'm coming up blank I'm afraid.

16 Jun, 2012


Ah, now I've had a thought - something about what you said, Snoop, has jogged my memory. I seem to recall that most Cratageus are grafted, because the basic hawthorn doesn't flower until its about 20 feet tall and quite mature, so they graft a younger, plant onto old rootstock. That's certainly what they do with ones like C. Paul's Scarlet. Yours, though have been grown from seed, or at least 2 of them have - this might mean you have to wait a few more years before they actually flower.
This does not, though, explain why the one you bought isn't flowering... what variety of Hawthorn was that one?

16 Jun, 2012


The two I grew from seed were from a hedgerow and this may be significant. However a berry comes from a flower so presumably the new plant should take on these attributes from the original parent.

I do not know the variety of the tree we purchased from the pages of the 'telegraph' as it was so long ago.

Someone else suggested that age might be an issue so perhaps I should hang on for a few more years. This particular tree is about 15 or so years old. If 20 years is a normal time to wait for flowering then it may still happen yet.

18 Jun, 2012


Well, I guess if you've waited 15 years, another 5 might be worth it.

18 Jun, 2012

How do I say thanks?

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