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How To Get Rid Of Hawthorn Trees [A Thorough Guide]

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Hawthorns are beautiful trees with edible berries, but there is one kind of hawthorn that is considered highly invasive. This means that it crowds out and kills other plants. It also spreads quickly by birds consuming and dispersing the seeds. We're researched how o get rid of invasive hawthorn trees, and this post will give you all of the details you need. 

Cut down the hawthorn trees to the stump. Then you may apply chemical herbicide, homemade herbicide, rock salt, or compost to speed up the decay of the stump and roots. Homemade herbicide is made of vinegar and is better for soil health. Chemical herbicide is made with glyphosate. This is bad for the soil's health but will kill the tree roots with fewer applications.

Having an invasive species on your land can be difficult to control. Luckily hawthorn trees can be controlled better when pruned to a shrub or hedge size. Finding a way to keep these plants in your landscape at a reduced size is an alternative to trying to kill all of the roots and stumps. You might wonder how to dig up hawthorn hedges and what things can kill hawthorn. This post will answer all of your questions. Keep reading to learn more. 

Red winter berries on green bush in forest. How To Get Rid Of Hawthorn Trees [A Thorough Guide]

How To Get Rid Of Hawthorn Trees?

Your preferred method for getting rid of hawthorn trees may depend on a few factors. Consider how many trees you have that need to be removed or killed. English hawthorn or common hawthorn is the only variety that is considered invasive. It does not spread by the roots but rather by birds eating and dispersing the seeds in nearby areas.

You can control your hawthorn trees by keeping the size smaller. When the top part of the plant is pruned to hedge size, the root spread also decreases to hedge size. 

Digging out hawthorn only works for hedge plants. You can cut down the tree to a stump and kill the hawthorn roots from there. If you only have a few trees, then a natural herbicide might do the trick. 

You might also be wondering how long the hawthorn tree will live if you decide not to get rid of the tree. You can learn more about the lifespan of a hawthorn by checking out this article: "How Long Do Hawthorn Trees Live?

White Hawthorn blossom on branch

What Kills Hawthorn Trees?

Once the tree is cut down to the stump, there are a few different options. You can use undiluted white vinegar as a non-chemical option to kill the stump and the roots. You might also bury the stump with compost to cause the stump and roots to dry out. Another non-chemical option is to drill holes in the top of the stump and pack the holes with rock salt.

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If none of these solutions work, then a chemical herbicide made with glyphosate will work. There are other chemical herbicides with triclopyr amine or triclopyr ester that will also work to kill woody stumps and roots, including hawthorn trees. 

Click here to check out Triclopyr 4 Herbicide at Amazon.

Does Glyphosate Kill Hawthorn?

Glyphosate is one of three chemical herbicides that can be used to kill hawthorn. Follow these steps to kill the hawthorn using glyphosate chemical herbicide or an alternative herbicide mentioned in this post. 

  1. Cut the tree down to the stump.
  2. Wipe off excess sawdust.
  3. Chop the stump vertically in several locations with an ax or a chainsaw.
  4. Use a 1/2-inch drill bit to make several vertical holes as deep into the trunk as the bit will go.
  5. Cover the exposed area of stump and the inside of holes with glyphosate or other herbicide of choice.
  6. Cover the stump with a dark plastic bag; place something on the bag to keep it in place.
  7. After about six months, you may remove the bag and notice the stump is decomposing.

The stump will die, but it may take several years before it decomposes completely back to the ground. You can speed up this process by covering the stump with compost material. 

Can I Cut Down A Hawthorn Tree?

A hawthorn tree can be cut down, just like any other tree. There is a folk tale superstition that says it is bad luck to cut down a hawthorn tree. Once you cut the tree down to a stump, the roots will continue to live and will cause new shoots to come out of the stump.

You need to apply one of the herbicides mentioned in this article to completely get rid of the hawthorn in your landscape. This may include using vinegar, glyphosate, or triclopyr. 

For more information about pruning and cutting back your hawthorn tree or shrub, check out this post: When Should You Cut Back Hawthorn Trees?

How Do You Dig Up Indian Hawthorn?

Indian hawthorn roots are not deep, which makes them a good choice for a hedge plant. In order to dig up Indian hawthorn, you will want to keep the root ball undamaged. Water deeply around your hawthorn shrubs the day before you dig up the plants. The next day, remove any mulch covering the ground around the shrub. 

Start digging a trench that is six to 10 inches away from the main stem of the plant. You can start digging six to 12 inches deep to see how deep the roots go. Once you have dug a trench around the hawthorn plant, you can move the shovel underneath the root ball and lift it out of the ground. Ideally, you should have the new planting site prepared for the Indian hawthorn. You can move it to the new location by using a tarp or a wheelbarrow. 

Snow White Indian Hawthorne Shrub (3 Gallons)

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How Do You Remove A Hawthorn Hedge?

Removing a hawthorn hedge is the same as moving an individual Indian hawthorn shrub. The only difference is that you will have several plants to dig out if you have a full hedgerow of hawthorn.

Start by watering the hedge plants deeply the day before transporting or removal. This will make it easier to dig into the ground and make the plants easier to maneuver out of the ground the following day. 

Bunch of red real wild forest hawthorn berries on twigs

Remove all mulch around the area and begin trenching six to 10 inches away from the main stems or trunks of the plants. Trench around the hedge area. You should also have to trench between the individual plants while being careful not to damage the root ball of any plants.

If you do not intend to transplant or gift the plants to someone who can replant them, then damaging the root ball is not a problem. After you have trenched around the hedgerow and each plant, then you can slip the shovel under each root ball to remove the individual plants. 

In Closing

The variety of Hawthorn and your goals for your landscape will determine the best way to remove Hawthorn from your property. If you are worried about the invasiveness of Hawthorn, you should know that only the common Hawthorn is invasive. It is also known as English Hawthorn. All other species of Hawthorn or non-invasive. 

If you are removing English Hawthorn from your landscape, you must cut the tree(s) down to the stump. The following step requires you to kill the stump and apply an herbicide. The only option for organic landscapers and gardeners is to use white distilled vinegar.

If you are not worried about using chemical herbicides on your land, then glyphosate or triclopyr can be used to kill the stump and roots. Both methods may require multiple applications of the herbicide to kill the tree.