Hawthornes Hawthorn

I have achieved a lot this summer working at Minute Man National Historical Park. This blog will be dedicated to my very cool independent project. There is a site called the Wayside house at Minute Man where a few notable people in history have lived. In front of the house is a very old English Hawthorn tree that was planted by Nathaniel Hawthorne around 1860. Hawthorne authored the Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables. The tree had been doing well until 3 years ago when one side of the tree’s vegetation started to decline in the canopy. The side of the tree closest to the street produces white flowers and has a healthy amount of canopy leaf growth, the side that’s closest to the house produces red flowers and has a unhealthy, low amount of leaf canopy growth. The weaker half was probably propagated the leaves grow but die off easily and the tree tries to produce new ones. My job this summer has been to care for this tree. The soil around the tree was unbelievably compacted from construction around the house and this past winter’s snowfall. I started by making a larger mulch bed around the tree to hold moisture, since the aerator wouldn’t start I took a drill with a long drill bit and drilled many holes around the mulch bed and the lawn so water was able to soak in better. To add natural nutrients I took a bag of topsoil and mixed it in the mulch and around the lawn and in the holes I drilled. I have been going often to water and check on the tree to see how it’s doing. Trent taught me how to fill out a tree assessment, which I found very interesting. My next step is to use the air spade to break up the soil, take a few samples and send them to University of Massachusetts Extension.

10005416_1458098874514106_963743583_n Nathaniel_Hawthorne_by_Brady,_1860-65


4 responses to “Hawthornes Hawthorn

  1. It sounds like a very thorough job. The hawthorn was a common ornamentnal tree and farmers used it planted in rows like privet to make an ornamental hedge mixed with roses and buckthorn. I think the old ones have so much character.

    Since you drilled holes and added good loam do you still need to use the air spade? I would expect that you will see a big change in spring with much more new foliage and more flowering. Would use the air spade in the heat of the summer or is this done in the fall ?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for caring for such a special tree! Visitors and staff cherish this living link to Nathanial Hawthorne. May the work that you are doing now add years to its life!

    Liked by 1 person

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