Hawthorn – millions of miles of it

Undoubtedly the plant that makes up the most miles of hedging in the UK is Hawthorn or in Latin, Crataegus monogyna.  It’s the farmers’ friend being completely safe for animals to chew on – not that they tend to because it’s very thorny. Hawthorn hedging plants are native to the UK and do well in all soils and almost all conditions other than waterlogged soil – obviously in some areas there are plants that are better suited – near the coast for example, we’d generally recommend Blackthorn instead, or in wetter soils, Alder or Willow make good native hedge alternatives.

As well as separating  farm fields, Hawthorn is popular in an urban setting too.  It brings a great deal of wildlife into the garden providing wonderful creamy white flowers in May (hence it’s alternative name of May Blossom), big fat juicy haws drip off the tree in autumn (the hedging you’ll see from the car window on motorway journeys that look so heavy with red berries that the whole tree takes on a red tinge) and the prickly, woody stems provide a sanctuary for small creatures.

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