Could anyone tell me when is the best time to take and plant hawthorn cuttings. i need a hedge and would rather grow my own than buy one.
From my experience, hawthorn cuttings don't take very well - I had less than 1 in 5 root. It is normally propagated from seed and now is the ideal time to collect the haws and sow them - they need the cold period in the soil to help them germinate.
I think the best chance of rooting cuttings would be to take 6 or 7 times as many as you need in Autumn from strong new semi-ripe (part woody, part green stem) growth.
Young 'whips' are very cheap to buy and will give you a hedge in much less time - probably at least 2 years quicker than growing from seed or cuttings.
Have a look here http://www.glebe-farm-hedging.co.uk/ Hawthorn whips about 34p each.
You'll need more than you think as you'll need a staggered double row to produce a decent hedge, (approx 6 plants per metre) but they're still not expensive, and they'll grow away quickly in the spring
I you have a look around some hawthorn, you might find a vole stash which has started growing. I found a lot of seedlings this way, and then potted them on for a year. Whips will be quicker than cuttings or seed.
If you know where you want the hedge, you could just line out the seed there. It will germinate in the spring.
We have a very good stretch of hawthorn hedge planted as a single row of whips 10 years ago. We prepared the ground well and trimmed them back to 9" after planting in late November. They grew 6' in their first year. We pruned them back again to about 3' to thicken them up and now keep the whole hedge about 6' high. It makes an excellent wind break for that part of the garden and provides food and shelter for birds and insects.
You'd get a similar effect form sowing seeds but it would take just a bit longer and you'd have to weigh up the cost of seed trays and pots and compost against the cost of the whips.
I would not recommend Hawthorn for hedging, unless you need to keep animals or humans in or out. They have thorns and are a b......to dispose of the trimmings. Go for Beech or Hornbeam, Both keep their leaves over winter so much more bird friendly and NO THORNS!
Oh I would respectfully disagree Berghill - I've known many a fine hawthorn hedge in my time, close clipped or allowed to grow to their full glory and flower and fruit.
Nothing better for birds and insects, and the thorns really aren't that bad - nothing like blackthorn, and I've been actively involved in a large amount of hedge cutting.
Whatever hedge you grow, you're going to have to dispose of the trimmings.
We have 100 feet plus of Hawthorn which is kept closely trimmed (usually these days by the Hedge man who does the whole road for the council.) And there are rarely any berries, few flowers to see and no birds use it in winter even where there is ivy. On the other hand our 30 foot Beech hedge is full at the moment of all sorts of bird using it for winter shelter.
I don't cut my hawthorn that tightly and there's plenty of berries and nests. Plenty of nests in the privet as well and in those hawthorns that haven't been cut at all.
You need to decide on the effect you want to achieve. Shelter for you? shelter for birds and other wildlife? for looks only?
Neat and suitable for a formal garden or a bit straggly and countrified? How many cuts a year, how tall, how wide. etc
Thanks all. I can buy bare rooted plants locally and probably will, but I'd like to have a go at growing my own. Am I too late to take cuttings this weekend? Do i need to plant them straight away? What about using hormone root powder? I'm keen to have a go.
I already have hawthorn and beech seed sown in trays of compost. Gave a full Sunday afternoon mashing haws and extracting the seed
Have you got the hawthorn seeds out in the cold No expert as Bob suggested?