Mayhaw season is approaching in Louisiana.
Mayhaws are one of the most widely known of the native fruit tree species found in Louisiana. Interest in mayhaws has been building over the past 20 years, and these plants are now managed in fruit orchards around the state. You can also find mayhaw trees at local garden centers during winter and early spring.
Mayhaws make a wonderful addition to any landscape.
A member of the hawthorn family, mayhaws are native to the southeastern United States. Trees usually reach 20-30 feet tall at maturity and are native to habitats that have low, wet, slightly acid soils. Trees perform best in full sun to partial shade.
The mature canopy is ball-shaped and is highly desirable as a small ornamental landscape tree. The mounded form and exfoliating bark also are desirable landscape characteristics. Mayhaws are highly desirable for attracting wildlife.
Mayhaw jelly has been named by the Louisiana Legislature as our state jelly. Berries on mayhaws are primarily red and ripen in mid-April through mid-May in Louisiana. You will occasionally see some yellow-berried mayhaw trees, although they are more common in the wild than in commercial plantings.
Mayhaws have a low chilling-hour requirement, so white flowers appear anytime from late January through early March. This early flowering sometimes leads to a loss of flowers and fruit due to frosts or freezes.
Cedar apple rust and fire blight are the primary disease issues with mayhaws, although some selections and varieties are more tolerant than others. Aphids are occasional pests on growing terminal shoots in spring.
Try a few mayhaw trees if you have not added these to your landscape. You will be pleased with the landscape attributes, wildlife attraction and fruiting characteristics.
Allen OwingsRick Bogren
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