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Reproduction of the Hawthorn

Reproduction of the Hawthorn

The hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq., 1775) is a shrub or a small, very branched, twisted and thorny tree, belonging to the Rosaceae family, common in the scrublands and at the edges of the woods.

Suitable breeding habitat –
Crataegus monogyna is a plant present in a vast range that includes Europe, excluding Iceland and Russia, North Africa, from Morocco to Tunisia, Western Asia: Turkey, Caucasus, Levant, Syria, Iraq, Iran. It is also present in North America.
In Italy it is present in all regions.
Its typical habitat is that of xerophilous woods, in hedges, scrubs and bushes, scrubs, edge of woods and grassy slopes, with preference for calcareous soils from the sea coast to the mountains up to 1,600 m s.l.m ..

Propagation –
Crataegus monogyna is a very rustic plant that tolerates temperatures down to at least -18 ° C that prefers clayey and well-drained soil that retains moisture, but is not demanding at all.
The plant prefers sunny areas and the seedlings take 5 to 8 years before they begin to bear fruit, although grafted trees often bloom abundantly already in their third year.
Propagation occurs by seed. The seed is placed to germinate immediately after ripening in an unheated greenhouse; in cold conditions some seeds germinate in the following spring. To facilitate germination, hot stratification for 3 months at 15 ° C and then cold for another 3 months at 4 ° C can be useful.
In some cases it may take another 18 months to germinate. Furthermore, to facilitate germination it is useful to scarify the seed.
Fermenting the seed for a few days in its own pulp can also speed up the germination process.
Once germinated, the young seedlings must be placed in individual pots, where it is necessary to grow the first year and then transplant them with their earthen bread in the following spring.

Ecology –
Hawthorn is a plant whose natural range is represented by areas of scrub between bushes, in predominantly calcareous soils where it grows at altitudes between 0 and 1,500 meters.
Its scientific name derives from the Greek “kràtaigos” which means “strength and robustness”, due to the hardness of its wood.
This plant is present throughout Italy (even in the islands), and represents a native species, widespread at the edge of the woods and in the hedges. In Italy it is present in all regions due to its great thermal plasticity and adaptability to the type of substrate. It prefers sunny exposures, but also bears partial shading. Its fruits are very popular with wildlife, and it is a refuge for many organisms (insects, birds and small mammals).
It should be remembered that in some regions of northern Italy, the marketing and planting of new Hawthorn plants has been prohibited, as it is believed to be a vector for the spread of the bacterium Erwinia amylovora, which is responsible for a disease affecting above all orchards known as name of “Fire Blight”.

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