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Crataegus crus-galli

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Crataegus crus-galli
Cockspur hawthorn

Culture: Well-drained, slightly acidic soils in full sun are best for this species, although it does tolerate variable pH ranges. It is pollution tolerant, but difficult to transplant, and is best pruned in early spring or winter.

The hawthorns in general tend to suffer from most Rosaceous plant problems, and this species is no exception. Fireblight, rust, leaf spot, scab, powdery mildew, mites, and leaf miners are just a few of the more serious ones. Fireblight can kill a tree, and the rusts are disfiguring, turning the fruit into hairy little balls of pink to orange phosphorescence. Despite this long list, the tree normally performs well with few problems except for occasional years when the cedar hawthorn rust disfigures the fruit.

Usage: This tree is an excellent choice for dry landscapes where its horizontal lines are needed to soften harsh vertical architectural lines. It should not be planted near members of the Juniperus genus, and can be attacked by fireblight in rainy areas. Care must be taken with the thorns as well, ensuring that they pose no threat to people. This species should not be located close to places children will frequent. In summary, it is probably best viewed from a distance.

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