Rusty Hawthorn.

About 3 years ago, when we first started the main garden space and had the limestone slabs put in, we planted a Thornless Cockspur Hawthorn in the center of it.

Image may contain: grass, tree, plant, outdoor and nature

It was the perfect combination of size and features and I was sure, after much research, that it would be perfect for this space. I can’t say that I was fundamentally wrong because it it still nicely shaped, has lovely flowers, and is doing well in this space. But it isn’t without issue.

We have (most likely) quince-cedar rust on this tree and we’ve had it every year since its been in the ground. Happily we don’t see it impacting our apples and crabapples (this is why we’re pretty sure it isn’t apple-cedar rust). We get the tell-tale fruiting fungal bodies sticking out of the hawthorn fruits yearly and the sheer volume of infected material is difficult to manage.

Image result for quince cedar rust
Image via Ohio State University Extension

Its gross and we’ve not yet been able to find a way to manage this sufficiently. It isn’t so bad that we are getting deformities and galls on the branches, but we do have leaf spots and those gross fruiting bodies. Its ugly and untidy and, worse yet, it may eventually infect our Serviceberries.

I’m afraid we’ve reached the point where we either have to learn to live with it or call it an expensive mistake and pull it out.

We don’t have any cedars on our property (I’m rather allergic to their pollen) but they are everywhere in the area so I can’t see a way to mitigate the transmission cycle without petitioning our neighbors to cut down their cedars. As if! So if we do take it out, half of me wants to try to replant it out by the road where it can live out its life but not negatively impact our Serviceberries.

But what to replace it with? Right now my two front-runners are Arctic Jade Maple or Elizabeth Magnolia. Both are the right size and plenty hardy for this exposed site

Arctic Jade Maple (20′ tall x 15′ wide), zone 4
Image result for elizabeth magnolia
Elizabeth Magnolia (25′ tall x 15′ wide), zone 4

Obviously they both bring something different to the table. I do love the magnolia, but there are two ‘Royal Star’ magnolias just a few feet away, so I’m leaning towards the ‘Arctic Jade’ maple. It ought to give some lovely, lush greenness to the yard most of the year and the finely cut foliage should provide interest too in the fall when it turns the color of caramel.

Acer x pseudosieboldianum Arctic Jade®
Image via Iseli Nursery

We’ll get stuck in to try to remove the Hawthorn (and ideally remove it to the windbreak/hedgerow) some time in late April- when the soil has warmed up but things haven’t gotten too far along. With any luck (or a lot of luck!) we’ll be able to get a substantial chunk of the roots out it’ll take in its new home, far away from any unsuspecting Serviceberries.

Have any of you had an unexpected mistake like this one? Have you ever tried transplanting something as daunting as this? I’ll take all tips!

7 thoughts on “Rusty Hawthorn.”

    1. It’s a cold climate Korean and Japanese maple hybrid. Supposedly hardy to z4. I’m leaning towards the magnolia too now that I’ve been reminded about those maple roots!!!


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