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The Dayton Tree Care Experts!

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Tree Catalog - Best Trees For Dayton, Ohio

Welcome to the Arbor Experts Tree Catalog, where you'll find photos and complete descriptions of the trees we most highly recommend for the Dayton, OH area. All of these trees will do well here and would be a beautiful addition to your yard.

Crusader Cockspur Hawthorn

Crataegus crus-galli 'Cruzam'

Crusader Cockspur HawthornPhoto - Tree

While most hawthorn trees are beautiful ornamental trees, many types have thorns, including the cockspur hawthorn, named because the thorns look like a rooster’s leg. The ‘Cruzam’ cultivar, often called Crusader, is the thornless variety of cockspur hawthorn, so you can enjoy the multi-season beauty of this tree without being worried about brushing up against painful thorns.

The Crusader hawthorn provides interest in every season. White flowers in the spring, bright red-orange to purple-maroon fall colors, red berries throughout the fall and winter, and dark green waxy leaves in the summer. The grayish bark of the tree is rough and it, along with the unique shape of the tree, provide visual interest in the winter when the leaves and berries are gone.

The shape of the tree is round, but it grows flat-topped with age. The somewhat horizontal branches eventually resemble the shape of some non-native trees, such as Japanese maples.

As an added bonus, the berries attract wildlife, including many varieties of birds.

Growing notes

The Crusader hawthorn is slow growing vertically, but grows at a medium rate horizontally. As it only reaches about 25 feet high at maturity, Crusader is an appropriate tree to plant under power lines.

Due to its low canopy (only about three feet above the ground), short height, multiple trunks, and horizontal branches, the Crusader hawthorn can also be grown as a shrub or hedge.

A great street tree, Crusader does well in urban environments and grows well in poor soils, drought, heat, and can even handle salt spray in the winter. However, it does require full sun so don’t plant it beneath larger trees or on the north side of a tall building.

When well maintained, this tree can live for 50 years or more.

Things to look out for

Unlike other hawthorns, Crusader is resistant to rust on its fruits, but it is still susceptible to other pests and diseases.

It will need consistent maintenance, including late winter pruning, to prevent it from getting too dense and twiggy and to keep it looking its best.

Any kind of standing or pooling water is detrimental to the Crusader hawthorn. Make sure it’s placed in an area with well-draining soil.

The spring flowers, while beautiful, have an unpleasant odor, so this may not be the best tree to plant near a walkway or outdoor seating area. Fruit litter in fall/winter can also be a nuisance if grown near a walkway where people could slip on fallen fruit.