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When is it a good time to prune Hawthorn? My one is getting a bit out of hand in my small garden, it is leaning to one side and blocking other plants in my border, but I don't know when to prune and how hard to cut it back. I would like to cut it back hard because it has got so out of control, but at the same time i love the way it brings birds into my garden. Any suggestions?
Hawthorn can become quite large trees, and very nice to have, if anyone has the space. As you'll know, hawthorn produces masses of blossom, and fruits, and is a good site for nests. On Gardeners World, just a couple of weeks ago, Carol Klein said she thought hawthorn was one of the best trees to have in a garden (but they can get big). Hawthorn is a robust and tough plant. I don't think that moderate (possibly even severe) pruning at any time would do it that much harm. If you prune at this time of year make sure there are no birds nesting in it before you start. But the best time to prune is during the Winter when the plant is dormant. I've occasionally tried to get rid of rogue plants, by cutting them right down; they always spring back.
As it's often used as hedging it shouldn't be a problem to cut it back and keep it to the size you want. The problem with growing potentially large trees in small gardens is that they do have to be kept in control.