Hawthorn Tree Not Flowering – What To Do?

Hawthorn trees are great plants to have in your backyard for many reasons. One of those reasons is that they produce beautiful blooms in spring that grow into berries during fall. However, it can be disappointing when your hawthorn tree doesn't produce blooms. We've done the research to help you understand what could be causing this problem.

The most likely reasons that your hawthorn tree isn't blooming are improper pruning, inadequate water, pests, or diseases. Here are the yearly steps you should take to encourage blooms:

  1. Water regularly
  2. Maintain mulch
  3. Prune in winter
  4. Fertilize in spring
  5. Treat for insects and diseases

In terms of what it takes for them to survive, hawthorn trees are pretty low maintenance. But to flower and eventually produce berries, they require a little extra care. In this article, we'll discuss the main causes of hawthorn trees not blooming. We'll also provide advice on what to do to encourage them to bloom. Continue reading to learn more.

Blossoms of Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna or May Blossom, Hawthorn Tree Not Flowering - What To Do?

Why Is My Hawthorn Tree Not Flowering?

In addition to providing lots of shade for your yard, hawthorn trees produce beautiful white or pink flowers that grow in clusters. These flowers provide food for birds and other animals when they turn into berries during the fall. We understand that it can be so frustrating for your tree not to produce flowers. Here are a few reasons why that might be.

Improper Pruning

Any type of shrub or tree is usually going to flower from mature wood, or what is sometimes referred to as "old growth." When most people prune, they usually remove the old flowers and branches to make way for new growth. 

But when you prune hawthorn trees that way, you are removing all of the mature wood. That decreases the likelihood that your tree will flower next year. If you pruned your tree too much after the last growing season, that's the most likely reason why it isn't flowering. Try to prune it less, or not at all, after the tree has completed its growing season. Hopefully, you'll see blooms next year.

Inadequate Water

Another reason why your hawthorn tree may not be flowering is due to inadequate water. Hawthorn trees are drought-tolerant, which means that they can live for long periods of time without water. But while the tree itself may survive with little water, it may not flower.

You may be thinking that your region has received plenty of rainfall this year, so inadequate water probably isn't the cause. But if your tree didn't flower, it could be due to not receiving enough water during the previous growing season. If that's the case, there isn't much you can do to encourage it to produce blooms except continuing to water and waiting until next year.

Pests and Diseases

A third reason that your hawthorn tree isn't flowering could be due to pests or disease. Hawthorn trees are susceptible to damage from insects like aphids, mites, and scale. They are also frequently affected by plant diseases such as fire blight, leaf spots, and apple scabs. 

Pests and diseases can affect the overall health of the tree and cause it not to flower. What's worse is that they can even kill the tree. It's important to check the trunk and leaves frequently for signs of pests and disease and treat them with the appropriate products. 

Age And Location Of The Tree

It's also a possibility that your hawthorn tree isn't flowering simply because it is too young. If you planted your tree during the wrong time of year, it might take a couple of growing seasons for it to produce flowers. 

If you plant new hawthorn trees in spring, they will likely produce flowers next spring. If you planted it during any other time of the previous year, the tree might not have had time to become established enough to produce flowers. If the tree was grown from a seed, it might take even longer to produce flowers. Some hawthorn trees grown from a seed can take as long as 20 years to flower.

You could have also planted your tree in the wrong location. Hawthorn trees can grow in poor soil and don't need a certain pH level in order to grow. But, they should be planted in full sun where they get at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Being in a shady spot can cause the tree not to flower as it should. Luckily, that's an easy fix as long as your tree is still small enough to dig up and move.

How To Get Hawthorn Trees To Bloom

White Hawthorn blossom on branch

If your hawthorn tree didn't bloom this year, you will likely have to wait until next year to see blooms. Regardless of whether or not your hawthorn tree bloomed last spring, there are things that you can do to encourage it to bloom during consecutive spring seasons. Here are the steps you should take throughout the year to ensure that your hawthorn tree continues to bloom.

Water Regularly

Watering hawthorn trees regularly will help them thrive and produce blooms. If trees are younger, keep the soil moist by watering them every day or every other day. During summer, when there is less rainfall, you may even need to water larger trees. Waterless during winter; lower temperatures mean that the soil will retain more water for longer.

Maintain Mulch

Apply mulch around the tree base to help retain water and prevent weeds and other plants from growing and stealing nutrients from the tree. The layer of mulch should be around 2-3 inches thick and be at least 6 inches away from the actual trunk to help discourage insects from living in the tree.

Prune In Winter 

Remember that hawthorn trees flower on old growth, so they don't require a lot of pruning. If you do need to prune, do so in the winter. But you should only remove branches that are dead or show signs of disease. Using pruning shears or a saw to remove the branch just before the area where it attaches to the tree.

Fertilize In Spring

Use a 10-10-10 fertilizer to fertilize your hawthorn tree in the spring. 10-10-10 fertilizers contain 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphate, and 10% potassium. All of these nutrients help plants and grass grow better and healthier. Be sure to follow the directions on the package. Spread the fertilizer over the root zone, not around the base.

Click here to check out this 10-10-10 fertilizer on Amazon.

See More: 15 Best All-Purpose Plant Fertilizers

Treat For Insects And Disease

Check on your tree throughout the year for evidence of caterpillars, scale, and boreholes. If found, treat with an insecticide spray or oil. During spring, you should also treat your tree with a fungicide to prevent fungal diseases, especially if they have been a problem before. Just be careful not to use too much insecticide or fungicide.

Do All Hawthorn Trees Bloom?

All hawthorn trees should bloom, but when they bloom, the blooms' color varies depending on the type of tree you have. Most hawthorn trees produce white flowers that grow in clusters. Some varieties of hawthorn trees produce pink flowers instead. 

You May Also Like: 15 Fruit Trees With White Flowers

Why Does My Hawthorn Hedge Not Flower?

The most common reason that your hawthorn hedge is not flowering is due to over-pruning. If you regularly prune your hawthorn hedge, you are removing the old growth. Old-growth is necessary to produce flowers. Treat it the same way as you would a hawthorn tree, and only remove dead or diseased branches.

Just like with hawthorn trees, it's also possible that your hawthorn hedge is too young to produce flowers. It may take a couple of years for the plant to become well-established enough to bloom.

What Time Of Year Does Hawthorn Flower?

Blossoms of Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna or May Blossom, Hawthorn Tree Not Flowering - What To Do?

Most varieties of hawthorn flower in April or May, but some can bloom as late as summer. After the trees bloom, the flower gives way to seed. The seed will turn into a berry during fall. The berries provide a food source for many animals and can also be eaten by humans. But humans should avoid eating the actual seed because they contain cyanide, which is toxic.

How Long Does It Take For A Hawthorn To Flower?

If you planted a hawthorn tree that is already actively growing, it could start to produce blooms in as little as 1 to 2 years. But if you grow one from seed, it may not flower for at least 5 years and could take as much as 20 years, depending on the variety.

In Closing 

Hawthorn trees are great shade trees that also bear flowers and fruit. If for some reason, your hawthorn tree doesn't flower, it's likely due to being over-pruned, but it could be for another reason as well. Remember to only remove dead limbs, keep the soil moist and possible, and frequently check for disease or insect damage. Thanks for reading!

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