A thorny shrub, hawthorn is weedy in natural environments, roadsides and riparian zones. It is tolerant of frosts and is common in temperate areas of NSW. It forms dense thickets (it was once popular for hedges) that exclude native vegetation and restrict movement. Birds eat the fruit and scatter seeds in droppings.
Leaves are 1-6cm long with 3-5 lobes and grow alternately. Deciduous, losing leaves in winter months.
Flowers can be white, cream or pink, have 5 petals, are 8-10mm and scented. Flowering occurs in spring.
Fruit are bright red, 5-10mm in diameter, and occur from late summer to autumn.
Small plants can be hand-pulled, being sure to remove roots too. Removal programs for large plants or infestations should consider replacement of hawthorns with suitable habitat for the small native birds and mammals that often rely on hawthorn trees as sources of food and shelter.
Foliar spray is recommended for seedlings, plants under 2m and regrowth. It should be applied in spring and autumn. Older plants can be treated with cut-and-paint or drill-and-fill before fruit ripens. Ask your friendly local weeds officer for advice on chemical use.