Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Plant of the Week: 'Winter King' Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis)

The berries are now ripe on Winter King hawthorn and the birds are attacking them like crazy.  This cultivar of the native green hawthorn is an outstanding fruit producer and birds, such as the robin and cedar wawwing, love the bright red berries this time of the year.  But this is truly a four season tree, it produces clusters of white flowers in the spring, has nice greenish gray foliage in the summer, bright red berries in the late fall, and exfoliating bark in the winter that reveals an orangish coloration to the trunk.  It is a small tree growing to 20' tall or so and has a vase like form. Unlike many hawthorns, it does not have a prolific number of thorns and it is quite disease resistant. The flowers, which appear for several weeks in May, are not very fragrant or have a pleasing smell. This is a fairly widely planted tree because it tolerates city pollution and urban clay soils.  It does best in full to partial sun with well drained soils but is adaptable to a wide variety of conditions, particularly if the soil drains well.  It will grow on a wide range of soils from acidic to alkaline.  This species can be used as a specimen plant, in mass plantings, and borders. For all you bird watchers out there, this appears to be a good backyard feeding year and red and white-winged crossbills have been seen eating hemlock seeds and the red-breasted nuthatches appear to be prolific.  We have even had pine siskins for almost 6 weeks now, so if you want to attract some good backyard birds, keep planting those good native plants like the 'Winter King' hawthorn.

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