Today was a nice, chilly winter day. It wasn’t too cold, nor was it rainy, so you’re basically talking about perfect collecting weather. I gather most of my deciduous material in January and February each year, and that includes hawthorns.
Most of my collecting trips result in at least one really awesome piece that makes the whole trip worthwhile. Today it was this nice old riverflat hawthorn, Crataegus opaca. The base is 2.75″ at soil level and it’s 20″ to the chop. You can’t beat the trunk movement, and the roots aren’t too shabby either. I’m looking forward to working on this tree in 2016, and will post updates as it progresses.
Here’s a specimen that had enough fibrous roots to go straight to a bonsai pot. The trunk base is 2″ and the height is 12″ to the chop. I think this nice Byron Myrick oval works really well with it.
I anticipate plentiful trunk buds on this one come spring, meaning I shouldn’t have any problem creating a branch structure. In a few years, this will be a showable hawthorn bonsai.
Same story with this one. Again, enough fibrous roots to go straight to a bonsai pot. This one is a Chuck Iker round, very nice. The trunk base of this tree is 1.75″ and it’s 15″ to the chop.
If you haven’t worked with hawthorn as a species yet, I highly recommend it. They’re not hard to collect, if you gather your own – the wood is pretty tough, but I use a cordless reciprocating saw. If you’re not into collecting your own, keep an eye on our Hawthorn page as spring gets closer.
Hawthorns backbud very well and grow quickly, which makes training a breeze. All of the species have small leaves, and leaf size reduces even further in bonsai training. I haven’t found there to be any peculiar horticultural requirements for them – you’ll get aphids from time to time and mealybugs, but they’re easy enough to kill.
One final note: I did not lose a single hawthorn in my Winter 2014 ice-snow-freeze disaster. They’re really hardy!