Green Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis Winter King )
Green Hawthorn Winter King is a North American native tree which slowly reaches 20 to 30 feet in height and spread. It derives its cultivar name because the red-orange fruits persist with good color long into winter, often until March or when waxwings or other birds eat them.
Happy in zones 4A through 7B, it is very dense and thorny which makes it a popular choice for use as a hedge or as a screen. Winter King can be pruned to grow with a single trunk or have multiple trunks, either way making it a lovely specimen tree. If lower branches are removed from the trunks, a more vase shape can be maintained. Winter King, overcomes the typical liabilities of Hawthorns. Winner of the 1992 Gold Medal plant award of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, it has a broad vase shape and bears clusters of delicate white flowers each spring. Their musty scent attracts hoards of pollinating insects. After a show of bronze, red, and gold fall foliage, it reveals silvery bark patched with orange-brown and develops orange-red fruits that resemble rose-hips. They persist through winter and are available for migrating birds such as cedar waxwings. Best of all Winter King is disease resistant and its sparse thorns are smaller than those on most types of Hawthorns.
Winter King is grafted onto rootstock of the Washington Hawthorn and occasionally suckers will develop from below the graft. Prune them away promptly. Prune off water sprouts if they appear along the branches.