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Thornless or Crusader™ Hawthorn is an excellent, attractive tree, and is great for group planting or as a small street tree. It is very tolerant of urban conditions.

Tree of the Month: Thornless or Crusader™ Hawthorn

By Len Phillips, ASLA Emeritus


Trade Name: Thornless or Crusader™ Hawthorn

Common Name: Cockspur Hawthorn

Botanical Name: Crataegus crus-galli var. inermis (‘Cruzam’)

Family: Rosaceae

Year of Introduction: 2009

Hardiness Zone*: 4 – 8

Height: 15 to 30 feet

Spread: 15 to 30 feet

Growth Rate: Vigorous, full size in 30 years

Form: Wide spreading form

Bloom Period: Late May for 1 to 2 weeks

Flower: White, showy, clusters 2 to 3 inches, no fragrance, early bloomer

Fruit: Orange to bright red, cherry-like, 3/4 inch, produced in small groups

Spring Color: Mid green

Summer Foliage: Glossy, dark green

Autumn Foliage: Bright gold, provides nice contrast with red fruits

Winter Interest: Fruits provide interest into mid-winter, bark also provides winter interest

Bark: Exfoliating in narrow silvery gray strips, virtually thornless on trunk and branches

Habitat: Species native to eastern half of United States and Canada

Culture: Well drained soils, full to partial sun, drought and heat resistant, tolerates most soils and pH

Pest Resistance: Resistant to Cedar rust on the fruits, no other pests

Storm Resistance: Good to excellent

Salt Tolerance: Tolerant of salt spray

Planting: Difficult to transplant bare root, containers and B&B are better, suitable for use in CU-Structural Soil

Propagating: By seeds or stem cuttings grafted onto seedling rootstock

Design Uses: Specimen for park, street, and residential

Companions: Use with low groundcovers planted the year after planting the tree

Other Comments: Excellent attractive tree, specimen, group planting, or small street tree,  very urban tolerant

Available From: Most retail nurseries. 


* For information about the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, visit www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/index.html

These are the personal observations of the author, living in New England – Zone 6. Len Phillips can be reached via e-mail at lenphillips@on-line-seminars.com


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