Blackthorn Bushes

CavilerFebruary 8, 2014

Hello Y'all,

I have ordered 4 Blackthorn Bushes (Prunus spinosa) to plant in my yard here in Baton Rouge, La. The lady from whom I bought the bushes advised me they would do fine in my clay filled, alkaline soil with no amendments necessary. She did advise me to plant them in a spot that would give them some protection from the afternoon sun - it can get very hot and humid here in summer.

My questions for y'all are two. First, where should I plant them to best protect them from the afternoon sun? Compass-wise and in relation to shade from larger trees/bushes? The noon sun is presumably OK, I'm guessing. I think what was meant was the hottest part of the day - 3-4pm.

My second question is how to get them to grow as straight a main trunk as possible? My intention is to grow them to maturity and then harvest them to make canes for me and my brother and brothers-in-law. Naturally, I'd need a straight trunk. Any idea on how to achieve this?

Thank You All, Very Much,

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


put your compass away .... lol ...

its not about shade.. its about heat ...

place them so at the hottest part of the day ... they are shaded ..

no one but you.. can figure that out for your garden ...

usually ... its all about a plants ability.. to pump enough water.. during the high heat of the day.. to survive.. without damage ...

if its 105 degrees ... and the plant withers in blistering sun ...

odds are... at 105 degrees ... in shade. the same plant will not show damage.. because without the insult to the skin of the leaf.. it can survive ...

so simply figure out.. when the hottest part of the day is ... and plant it in shade ..

usually ... i would look for about 1 to 5 pm ... if not later... but trying for at least 8 hours of sun.. the cool morning sun ....

the shade issue also can cause... a plant.. to reach from dark shade .. out to sunlight.. if you plant too close under trees... and that would be the first sign.. that you planted in too much shade ...

perhaps i can simplify it .... where would you put your lawnchair and beer cooler .. in the heat of the day.. to read a book.. bright.. but shade ... but still able to crawl back to the house.. when the cooler is empty ... lol ...

i grow lots of hosta.. and when i branched into trees.. they told me the same thing ... and i put them in way to dark locations .... then i learned about heat and the plants ability to move water in leaves..... so trust me.. we arent talking dark..

good luck

see link on how to plant.. without amending and in clay .. and about how to water PROPERLY ...

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 6:26PM
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Thanks. I think that advice will serve me well and is about all I needed to know.

the link will no doubt prove useful. I've not read it yet but certainly will before I start planting. there'll be 2 white dogwoods and a 'black' maple going in, too this early spring. not sure of black maples name, but its unmistakable.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 7:47PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Long before you have stems thick enough to make a blackthorn stick you can start making Sloe gin ;-) To get a main stem you would need to remove all side shoots just as for making any standard form tree. But beware - the name P spinosa is well chosen. Treat them with circumspection, don't garden barefoot and make sure your tetanus is up to date. The spines can cause very nasty puncture wounds which frequently go septic. They are widely used here to make stock proof - and human proof - hedges. They are the first wild hedge blossom of the spring, starting to flower in February in mild areas. But after flowering they are fairly unprepossessing shrubs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blackthorn

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 11:00AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

let me also suggest.. having never grown these ... that your time table is a bit optimistic ...

you will need at least a season or two.. for these SMALL plants.. to get fully established.. and grow a mature root mass ...

and until that happens you are not going to start producing cane diameter woody trunks ...

and also.. i would suggest.. that you leave the suckers for the first year.. under the idea.. that every leaf is a food making machine.. pumping food into growing the root mass mentioned ...

perhaps come next spring ... 2015 ... then you start selecting a leader or two.. and reducing the number .. for production ...

if i am wrong.. i will stand corrected...

i just want you to understand.. that your 'expectations' might be a bit high.. as to how fast this project will come to fruition ... i am thinking more in the 7 to 10 year range ... just remember.. that plants need lots of leaves.. to feed the plant.. to grow to size.. and if you keep cutting them all off.. you arent going to get a thick trunk ... you will get a spindly plant ... counterproductive to say the least... especially when small and young ...


    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 8:14AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Seems unlikely to grow in your climate region and the soil types liable to be present there. With stone fruits pests and diseases are also a really big deal over much of the country, with certain ones making it pretty much impossible to grow some of them in some places.

Never amend planting hole back-fill for plants of types other than small annuals and vegetables with tiny root systems. Do always mulch after planting, unless the plants are kinds that will be smothered if the mulch gets up next to them.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 3:57AM
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Kevin O'Connor

Do we have natural Blackthorn in the U.S.?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2015 at 12:03PM
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