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Early Autumn

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General post from Sue Sunderland


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I have a much loved red hawthorn tree, Paul's Scarlet, which is approximately 13 years old.
Last summer at this time of the year, or maybe slightly later, it suddenly started to drop all it's leaves and within a few days it looked as though it were in mid winter.
I really thought that we had lost it, but this year it came back into leaf, but with fewer blossoms than usual. Within the last 2 days it has again started to drop its leaves and already the garden looks like autumn.
As shown in the photo, there are already bare patches and leaves are falling continually now.
Nothing in the near vicinity of the tree has changed within the last few years. It stands at the end of an established border. Is anyone able to offer any explanation as to why this should be happening?

Early Autumn

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  • Views: 1083
  • Replies: 6
  • Posted: Thu. 2nd July 2009 10:21

Early Autumn

Reply from Marissa Zoppellini

Hi Sue, sorry to hear about your poorly tree. Can you have a good look at the leaves for signs of distortion or pest activity - things to look out for: caterpillars on the leaves, silk webbing on the branches. odd looking growths on the stems, stunted shoot tips with a rosette of small leaves. Post back your findings on the forum, maybe you can find some clues to help pin down the problem. In the meantime, I would water the tree in dry weather and then mulch with garden compost, as it needs a bit of TLC without its full complement of leaves. Look forward to hearing more, all the best, Marissa

  • Posted: Thu. 2nd July 2009 16:53

Red hawthorn trouble

Reply from Kathy C

Hi, Sue
I, too, am sorry to hear about the trouble with your hawthorn. I definitely agree with Marissa about taking a good look at the leaves. What markings/discolorations are on the leaves? Do they turn brown before falling? I think the key is in what the leaves look like even before they fall as it sounds like the tree is suffering from a disease rather than a pest. Please let me know what you see and maybe we can get to the bottom of this.
Kathy C

  • Posted: Thu. 2nd July 2009 22:38


Reply from Fi

Hi, I've learnt not to worry. If a plant is in distress, from drought or cold/wet maybe, it's first line of defence is to shed its leaves. If it's quite a well establish plant then I wouldn't worry. Maybe prune back a little to allow the roots to get the energy, but as long as there is green showing further down in the main leader then it will come back again. Maybe make sure it gets water and/or feed during the autumn winter months? Could just do with a good mulch and feed to keep moisture in and food where it needs it.
Good luck

  • Posted: Thu. 2nd July 2009 23:14

Early Autumn

Reply from Sue Sunderland

Thank you all so much for your recommendations. I cannot find any evidence of caterpillars or silk on the tree. The leaves are not brown when they fall, but some have discolouration and spots...see photo.

Early Autumn

Click image to enlarge

  • Posted: Fri. 3rd July 2009 09:05

Paul's Scarlet

Reply from Irene Taylor

Hi, I specifically joined this site when I saw your post as I have the same problem, but it is affecting 3 of my Paul's Scarlet Hawthorns. My trees flowered beautifully this year and then after a very hot 10 days in June, (which is most unusual weather for North East Scotland) 2 lost their leaves and now this week I notice the 3rd (after 2 weeks almost torrential rain )is doing the same. I notice yellow crusty stuff like lichen on them and the leaves that a left are spotted. I have other hawthorns in the garden, white flower variety, and they are OK. They are between 6- 8 years old, and I'm wondering if I should spray against fungas? Any ideas?

  • Posted: Mon. 3rd August 2009 16:03

Re: Early Autumn

Reply from Steven Bludnell

Try watering once a week during the summer months. A really good soaking should sort it out. Also some selective pruning will stimulate the roots. Good luck.

  • Posted: Sun. 27th May 2018 19:42