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using chipped Hawthorn trees in orchard

Posted by Peter Drevniok 
using chipped Hawthorn trees in orchard
August 29, 2014 07:15AM
I need to get rid of about 50 Hawthorns that are close to my proposed orchard (planting next spring 2015). Is it okay to chip these trees (with their leaves and fruit) and use them as mulch in the orchard next year?

Peter Drevniok, Wakefield, QC zone 4b
Re: using chipped Hawthorn trees in orchard
August 29, 2014 05:57PM
Hi Peter,

Were they, or are they, infected with fire blight, bacterial blast, rust or leaf spot/leaf blight? This is important to ascertain.

If they had any of the above, I wouldn't use them as mulch in a new apple/pear orchard.

If they are healthy by all accounts, then I think you are likely okay to go for it. But, be sure about the infection you might be spreading into your new orchard ground. A little research online will help you to identify a variety of diseases in hawthorns. May be better to just be safe than sorry and chip the material and haul it off site.

You could also consider not using them as part of your fungal building strategy, as mulch, and high heat compost them in piles first and then use the material. Different purpose, as the new orchard is concerned, but may be better than hauling it off or burning it.

Many Hawthorn diseases can easily jump to apple, crab apples, pears and quince. Around our orchards adjacent ground, we cut hawthorn and burn it each year as it is the number one fireblight host in our area.

Good luck

Gopher Hill Apples
Zone 8 in California
Re: using chipped Hawthorn trees in orchard
August 30, 2014 08:42PM
This thread has taken a good turn in addressing disease vectors, but let's think a wee bit deeper here. A fruit tree disease "above ground" has a causative organism that requires a canopy environs. Hawthorne rust (like any rust) goes one year to Craetagus, the next year to Malus. Always by way of the air, always where green tissue can be infected. Fire blight requires an opportunity to get into the apple/pear vascular system ... think open blossom, think wind whipped shoot ... and all the while this bacterium waits "above ground" in bud scales and bark crevices and oozing canker edges. Chip the tree -- whatever its potential woes -- and now the wood and causative organisms alike are in the jaws of the soil food web. Above ground issues are no longer issues. The microbe scene has been altered to favor other species.

The one relevant aspect of hawthorn chips are the thorns. Tire tubes do not relate.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/31/2014 08:44AM by Michael Phillips.
Re: using chipped Hawthorn trees in orchard
August 31, 2014 08:15AM
Peter, one issue that might be worth keeping in mind is the introduction of lots of hawthorn seeds into your orchard.
We haven't much experience with hawthorn, but if the seeds germinate readily, might you end up with a woody weed problem in your orchard? Might be safer to put them through a compost heap first (??).

Kalangadoo Orchard
On the “other side” in South Australia
Re: using chipped Hawthorn trees in orchard
September 01, 2014 10:14AM
This is likely another case where whatever you do will be fine. Since you have them already, Peter, you know how thorny they are, and that may be a hassle to get them into the chipper. I have a few of them right next to an apple planting and they get trimmed more and more each year as I gouge out more of my flesh, but they really can be a nice plant, and since they are apparently good for your heart we eat them even though they are pretty poor on the palate. As for disease, I believe the issue always is the presence and degree of said infection. Yes, they transmit disease, and Paul is right to caution you, but if you were removing them because they are a vector, then I suppose you should also eliminate all other apples, pears, and all amelanchiers as well since they too are susceptible to fireblight. Personally, I stuff my trimmings into the fenceline to deter intruders, or burn them on the bonfire since we do not chip any more. As far as seeding the orchard and Chris and Michelle make a good point (I have seen fields of them, and they do hurt under foot when they are wee), but in all our favor is that they are particular with regard to seed sprouting (they have a complicated seed dormancy compared to other species). This is a bit of a tangent, but with all the tree seeds having dropped around our orchard over the years, I have seen almost no sprouting from anything but tilled areas, including hawthorn, apples, pears, cherry and plum. True suckers are the only incidence.

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
Zone 3 in Vermont
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