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My hawthorn isn't flowering!

 
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Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b) Rainfall 26"
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There isn't going to be any hawthorn jelly this year!  For the past few years the little tree (C. schraderiana) in my front garden has been covered in blossom and yielded pounds of berries in autumn.  It hadn't occurred to me until just now when I saw a few clumps of blossom on it, that's all there is!  It hasn't been frosted or trimmed, it simply hasn't formed buds.  It's grafted.  When is the formation of flower buds triggered?   I had some hard trimmed C. monogyna out the back when we moved here and I never trimmed them, and it took them about six years to calm down from the vigorous growth they put on, and actually start to flower again.  But the one out the front has only ever been lightly pruned by taking small branches back to a joint, so there were plenty of leaders left on.

I think it's just having a rest year, I hope so anyway.  I wanted to get a decent quantity of seed to try and germinate some!
 
pollinator
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How are you local wild may berries?  I've never made jelly, but of the multitudes of wild ones, maybe there are some good enough?  What are the requirements for a good jelly?

I know how you feel though:  I was so disappointed last summer that I couldn't make green tomato salsa:  every one ripened :)
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Galadriel Freden wrote:How are you local wild may berries?  I've never made jelly, but of the multitudes of wild ones, maybe there are some good enough?  What are the requirements for a good jelly?



They're just so tiny though, aren't they.  I think the only time I ever picked wild hawthorn I'd picked too many things at once and they got left in the bag and smelt of fish and it kind of put me off!  No doubt it will be something else this year that there is loads of.  And it's not like I don't have a cupboard full of last year's jam still...
 
G Freden
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My goodness, I thought that was what hawthorn berries were:  tiny!  How big are yours?  I think of them as being around the size of a blueberry.  And not having much of a flavour;  are yours particularly aromatic/flavourful?
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Well there are large blueberries and small ones, but Crataegus schraderiana berries are about twice the diameter of an English wild hawthorn, and a deep red.  The flavour is not remarkable and the flesh is a bit dry, but cooked they have a nice appley sort of taste and the skins give the juice a dark red colour.  They do have rather large hard stones which break apart into several sections like a terry's chocolate orange.

Mine was mis-sold me as C tanacetifolia in a garden centre, just as an ornamental tree.  I'm trying to germinate seeds because I want to take it with me when I move house and this one is grafted so has never got very big.
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Roger Phillips quotes an old saying "an harlot's son not worth a haw"
 
Hester Winterbourne
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An update on this is that the tree has definitely settled into an "every other year" fruiting pattern.  Nothing last year.  Going to be loads this year.   I maybe ought to thin the blossom or the small fruits, but am too greedy and not sure it would work.  May as well just make hay while the sun shines, as it were.

However, after a couple of attempts to get the seed to germinate, I have by chance hit on the answer.  Allow seed to fall onto compacted muddy gravel and drive over it at least once a week for a year or so!  I now have one very cherished little seedling which will hopefully be ready to plant out in a couple of years when i move house.
 
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Hester, thanks for the update.

However, after a couple of attempts to get the seed to germinate, I have by chance hit on the answer.  Allow seed to fall onto compacted muddy gravel and drive over it at least once a week for a year or so!  I now have one very cherished little seedling which will hopefully be ready to plant out in a couple of years when i move house.



What a great way to stratify the seed.

Enjoy the jelly!
 
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Allow seed to fall onto compacted muddy gravel and drive over it at least once a week for a year or so!


Good job you spotted it! It's funny how tree seeds seem to like the rocky soil - Rowans are like that and I spotted a spruce in our drive last week....
I'm trying a few different sorts of Haw  (as well as C. monogyna common haw), but I've yet to get any fruit from them. The common haw fruits really well. I was thinking of trying to make a brown sauce from the berries...

Hawthorne berries on Skye


I also have some seedlings from bought seed, I haven't had much luck with the germination, perhaps I should try your trick! I'm not sure which is which now! I managed to graft C. shraderiana onto one of my common haw seedlings last year and it seems to be growing now, so I'm pleased about that. I'll have to check for flowers again this year on the trees to see if there is any luck....

Hawthorne-Whip-and-tongue-graft
Special Haw on Hawthorne: whip and tongue graft
 
Hester Winterbourne
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Nancy Reading wrote:

Hawthorne-Whip-and-tongue-graft
Special Haw on Hawthorne: whip and tongue graft



Oh wow, well done there!  I tried last year and failed.
 
Nancy Reading
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I think i had three grafts and only one took. That's pretty much my usual experience. Keep trying!
 
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