I chose this riverflat hawthorn, Crataegus opaca, to test the potential for collecting hawthorn species in October. I know I’ve mentioned before that hawthorns are relatively easy to collect, with a 90% survival rate – a very consistent rate I’ve experienced over the past 25 years. But I’ve always collected them in January, when the dormant period is at its peak. I had gone out to collect water-elms earlier this month, having been told they did well when collected this time of year, and decided to push the envelope with hawthorns just to see what would happen. So I brought this one home.
Here we are, almost three weeks later. The foliage I left on the tree dried up pretty quickly, so I took it off not knowing what that might mean (but hoping it didn’t mean sap withdrawal). Then I ignored it for a couple of weeks. The other day I took a close-up look, and what did I find? Tiny, ruby-colored terminal buds on three of the branchlets. These are viable buds; I know exactly what they look like, from long experience. So at least for now, it’s clear this tree is wanting to recover from the October harvest.
I don’t know how much actual shoot growth I’ll get, heading into dormancy not too long from now. The main thing worth keeping an eye on is how this tree behaves going into spring, assuming it survives through winter, and what sort of strength it’ll exhibit in the 2016 growing season.