How To Plant Hawthorn Hedges? Also When Is The Best Time?

Written By James
Updated July 2, 2021 by James

How To Plant Hawthorn Hedges? Also When Is The Best Time?

Hawthorn hedges, also known as Crataegus Monogyna, are the most popular hedge variant in the United Kingdom. Amongst all hedges, the evergreen hedge, the deciduous hedge, and other native species, the Hawthorn hedge is most widely used; thanks to the thick, dense leaves, delicate flowers, and fast growth. The fast growth rate and healthy growth is actually what gave this hedge its more common name- Quickthorn.

Quickthorn: A Summary of Hawthorn Hedging

Here are some main points to note about Hawthorn hedging:

  • Hawthorn hedge's bushy growth performs great in late winter months too- as most hedge varieties tend to become bare and leafless during those winter months. This hedge grows and sustains itself well in dry spells, late autumn, mid-autumn (when weather changes are more extreme during Autumn months), late winter (when most hedges are completely leafless), and of course the usual autumn to spring period (where hedges blossom at their finest)
  • Native trees grow well in any soil surface and soil preparation too, making them the easiest to keep. We recommend avoiding a waterlogged soil preparation, even though wet soils are optimal. It's easy to take care in planting these due to the wide range of compatible soil types.
  • Highly dense, glossy green foliage makes this dense hedge variety near impossible to see through- making it a popular choice for privacy
  • Surprising benefits of these security hedges' hawthorn plant are the bright red berries in Autumn, following the creamy-white flowers- as well as rustic black bark to contrast against snow in colder months; also a source of food for wildlife due to the rich organic matter (look out for nesting season)

Planting, Pruning, and Care

When it comes to the Crataegus Monogyna, we recommend some tips to help make the most of the beautiful flowers in spring of this native hedge.


While Hawthorn comes with a host of its own benefits, it's a tough hedge to nurture and bring about. You need to properly prepare the conditions and environment these trees are to grow in to ensure optimal and healthy growth. 

When nurturing these native plants, use a good plant food or garden compost/organic mulch. Garden soil needs to be rich and nutritious for all garden types- they'll also bring out extra colour in autumn. Everyone loves autumn leaf colours, so if you want to achieve that fantastic autumn colour and growth of flowers, invest in a qualitative fertiliser. Rootgrow is the renowned and classic option to go for, and we highly recommend it too! If your soil is of a slightly lower quality, or you just want to boost the power of your soil, Rootgrow or organic mulch will make all the difference. After all, you want to bring out the best growth possible in ideally as little time as possible for your native plants- and even showcase a wonderful display of flowers.

During the fundamental, early years of your hedging of Hawthorn- ensure you're eliminating weeds and pests. This should be maintained for the first two to three years, which can sound lengthy and laborious- but it's required to ensure your hedging is perfect. 

Another technique you could implement is by planting in a staggered double row, at around 5 to 6 plants per metre apart; if you're looking to build a stock-proof hedge. If you're hedging for screening purposes, then you'll need to plant a single row- with about three hedge plants per metre. This will ensure maximum density while not being too stocky- you'll be able to ensure privacy and keep trespassers out. 

As Hawthorn is amongst the common hedging plants that blossoms attractive flowers and crimson red haws, you'll want these to be on show during late spring and so on. The best way to achieve this is by regularly and consistently clipping your hedge- we recommend this to be done annually, but every other year is satisfactory too. The time gap is what gives the woof a chance to flower. 

Actually- if you regularly clip your hedge, you'll extend the lifespan of it too. Neglecting your hedge will cause it to decay after a decade or so, with gaps and patchiness appearing.


After planting the finished hedge, we recommend a session of pruning. This will essentially prime your finished hedge to make it as bushy as possible- not just from the branches, but from the ground! When you see a hedge beginning from the ground, you know it's been well taken care of.

You may assume the first couple of sessions of pruning this colourful hedge are rather easy hence insignificant, but this isn't further from the truth. They're very important in setting the base of your hedge- soon enough, they'll be impenetrable.

Immediately Post-Planting 

When you first plant your hedge trees, make sure you cut them back significantly. We recommend cutting them back by a half. Some people don't mind cutting them further, for example up to 65%. It's like pruning a flower bud actually- the dormant buds below the cut line put out newer growth in the spring season. Each one will generate up to four new branches, giving a much denser foliage. 

After Slight Maturation

Around a year after, make a second cut. The timing will be dependent on when you planted them, for example- if you planted the hedge trees between October and April, the second cut would need to take place a year later (when the leaves are no longer present during the season), and vice versa. You'll need to cut all new growth (any growth of less than a year)- by a half again.

What you'll achieve is an effect of pre-setting the production of 3 to 5 new growths from each cut branch within the next year. You'll have yourself a wonderful hedge with its beautiful autumn colours and blossoms.

Later Years - Greater Hedge Maturation

Now that you've primed your hedges in the fundamental years, you can look into the next steps which should be performed over the fore-coming years. These will be less frequent and laborious, as you've already done all the hard work. The preliminary steps and early nurturing would have created rounded, sturdy hedge trees that each have between 8 and 16 branches- creating a far denser and healthier hedge appearance. 

These new branches that have grown as a result of the above steps will grow to become thicker, longer, and stronger. You won't need to do any hardcore cutting now. Only touch-ups. Depending on the time frame of your hedging, for example, in Autumn- trim down the sides of the hedge to keep a uniform shape. Make sure to trim and even out the tops too. 

If you're going for a particular shape, make use of these touch-ups to cut your hedge into your desired shape. 

Remember to keep the hedge wider near the bottom to ensure each leaf receives an equal amount of sunlight. Leaves need sunlight to photosynthesise, the process which provides them with green pigment and support their overall growth. That's why it's necessary and good practise (to enhance the longevity of your plants) to follow this trimming blueprint. 

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My father, and his father before him, and his father; for the past 3 generations, my family have always been into gardening. The green fingers is a gift passed down to me and I thoroughly enjoy it! I also have worked in the manufacturing department for Bosch and DeWalt so I like to think I know a thing or two about tools and such!
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