[nafex] FW: Mayhaws

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Tue May 22 17:48:45 EDT 2001

After more than ten years, I have finally decided that Mayhaws just aren't
suited to the Pacific NW, and will concentrate on other species of Crataegus
Here's what I found, in a nutshell.
Virtues:  Very late blooming here, two or more weeks after apples.
Attractive appearance - open growth habit that needs no training.

    Slow growing on all rootstocks tried, including the native C. douglasii,
which is suprisingly similar in appearance - the two look like they could be
fairly closely related.
    Very slow to come into bearing - around ten years in some cases.
    Very poor set  -  one handful to a tree at best, some have never set any
fruit, even after several years of blooming.  
    Needs more water than is available here.  Seedlings have all failed
under dryland conditions where the local native species thrives.
    Big Red and Super Spur were grafted to seedling C. douglasii trees at
the edge of wooded areas.  The native species would bloom and bear there,
but the Mayhaws, while growing, have never bloomed more than a couple of
blossoms in over ten years.  It's possible they need high light intensity to
get them to bloom.
    But the coup de grace came this year when  three trees in a test row in
the open finally bloomed and set reasonably well, only to develop rust on
nearly all the fruit.  No other hawthorn has had rust so badly.

    Perhaps Mayhaws could be crossed with the native C. douglasii here to
improve it.  The native species is similar in appearance, suggesting that
they are related, and while the native fruit is dry, it's edible and tastes
all right.  A cross to bring Mayhaw quality to the native fruit would be
good, but it remains for someone else to try.

-Lon Rombough
Grapes, writing, consulting, more, plus word on my grape book at

Permission to Jackie Kuehn to use this in POMONA.


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