Crataegus laevigata is a species of Hawthorn from the Rosaceae family of plants. They also call it Midland Hawthorn, English Hawthorn, Woodland Hawthorn, or Mayflower. It is native to Western, Central Europe, and North Africa.
Crataegus laevigata is a large, thorny shrub or a small tree. It grows to about 26ft or 8m tall. The foliage is dark green, with three lobes on each side. The white flowers grow as corymbs of up to 12 and each flower has five petals. They are hermaphrodites and pollinated by insects. Crataegus laevigata flowers profusely in spring. After flowering, it produces pome-like fruit called Haw. The fruit is deep red in color and it is edible.
Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), the Swedish botanist, originally named it Crataegus oxyacantha. This name was used for both common and Midland Hawthorns. Nikolaus Joseph Freiherr von Jacquin (1727-1817), the Dutch botanist, separated the species and named the Common Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna. Jean Louis Marie Poiret (1755-1834) the French botanist, in 1798, named this plant Mespilus laevigata as a separate species, later Jean Irene Byatt changed the name using laevigata with Crataegus genus name.
How to grow Crataegus laevigata:
Sunlight: Crataegus laevigata thrives in both full sun and partial shade. It can tolerate a wide range of light conditions, but it generally performs best when exposed to at least six hours of sunlight per day.
Soil: Plant Crataegus laevigata in moist, well-drained soil. While it can adapt to various soil types, it prefers loamy or sandy soil with good drainage. Amending the soil with organic matter, such as compost, can improve its fertility and moisture-retention capabilities.
Watering: Initially, water newly planted Crataegus laevigata regularly to help establish its root system. Once established, it is moderately drought-tolerant, but regular watering during dry periods is beneficial for optimal growth and overall health. Provide deep watering sessions to ensure the water reaches the plant’s root zone.
Disease and Pest Management: While Crataegus laevigata is generally hardy, it can be susceptible to certain diseases and pests. Common issues include rust, leaf spot, powdery mildew, fire blight, borers, lace bugs, leafminers, caterpillars, and scale insects. Monitor the plant regularly for any signs of damage or infestation and take appropriate measures, such as applying organic or chemical controls, as necessary.
Pruning: Pruning Crataegus laevigata is generally not required for its overall health. However, you can prune it to shape or remove any dead, damaged, or crossing branches. It is best to prune during the dormant season in late winter or early spring to minimize stress on the plant.
Fertilization: Crataegus laevigata typically does not require heavy fertilization. However, you can apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring to provide some nutrients for healthy growth. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper dosage and application method.
Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant can help conserve soil moisture, regulate temperature, suppress weed growth, and enhance the overall appearance of the garden. Use a 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch, keeping it a few inches away from the trunk to prevent moisture buildup and potential rot.
Wildlife Benefits: Crataegus laevigata produces small, fragrant flowers followed by vibrant berries. These berries are highly attractive to birds, which helps promote biodiversity in your garden. Consider leaving the berries on the plant to provide a food source for wildlife.
By following these care instructions, you can successfully grow and maintain Crataegus laevigata in your garden. Providing the right light conditions, well-drained soil, regular watering, disease, and pest monitoring, occasional pruning, and minimal fertilization will help ensure the plant’s health and longevity.
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