Should a Gardener buy a Grafted Mayhaw Tree or a Wild Seedling

The Mayhaw tree, Crategus aestivalis, is a little known fruit tree, indigenous to the Southern states, growing as a native tree in boggy wet areas, but the mayhaw tree is well adapted for growing in upland sites. The Mayhaw tree produces a small fruit similar to a small apple or crabapple with a bland flavor, but is highly esteemed for the Miller Counter, Georgia mayhaw jelly that is world famous. This jelly is reported by some gourmets as the world's best jelly. The mayhaw tree was considered to be a hawthorn tree originally, because of the wild trees being armed with sharp thorns, however, grafted nursery mayhaw trees are thornless and easily harvested from the trees. The new grafted mayhaw cultivar trees are much superior to the wild, seedling mayhaw trees that you can buy from most internet nursery sites. Mayhaw berries are colored red or yellow, and when the color begins to form, the mayhaw crop can be harvested from large trees by placing a canvas under the tree and shaking the mayhaw berries onto the canvas for collection.

Wild mayhaw trees growing in pond areas were harvested for years by shaking the fruit off into the water to float for collection into buckets. Much mayhaw hybridizing and cultivar selection has been made at the Coastal Plains Experiment Station at Tifton, Georgia, and other mayhaw cultivars have been grown in Louisiana and Texas. The size of the wild seedling mayhaw fruit was unpredictable, as well as the quality of the berries in the wild mayhaw trees that were collected from the woods, but much modern attention is being focused on developing new mayhaw grafted cultivars that might offer a commercial future for farmers to plant and grow in an orchard. There are other products being developed for mayhaw berry crops such as mayhaw preserves and mayhaw wine, but the final improvement for future mayhaw demand will be a tasty, fragrant mayhaw of a large size.

Even though the American cranberry industry development appears to parallel the mayhaw in many respects, the cranberry promoters have greatly diversified product development, such as cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, and mixing cranberry juice with many other marketable juices. The future of the mayhaw hangs on finding a good mayhaw promoter.

Mayhaw fruit trees produce abundant crops of red or yellow fruit, famous in the South when cooked into Mayhaw jelly—a famous food product from Colquitt, Georgia, touted by locals that Mayhaw jelly is the most delicious jelly in the world. New thornless mayhaw trees offer a new direction for hybrid commercial Mayhaw tree fruit production. New Mayhaw hybrid varieties have come from Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The Texas Star Mayhaw variety grows large red fruit of the Mayhaw.