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Growing Quince

Category Fruit Trees
If you live in an area that quince grows well then it is a great fruit to grow in your garden. Growing your own quince will give your family the freshest fruit possible. This is a guide about growing quince.
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January 27, 20120 found this helpful

Quinces (Cydonia oblonga) are fruit trees related to apples and pears. They require a chilling period to flower (100 to 140 days below 45ºF), and can be grown successfully in cooler tropical climates as well as colder temperate regions. In the U.S. they are hardy to Zones 5-9. As trees, they have an irregular shape and reach heights of 10-15 feet tall. In the spring, quinces produce fragrant, pale-pink blooms similar to apple blossoms (although more understated). The yellow-gold fruits, usually harvested in late fall, are shaped like lumpy apples and can be eaten fresh, stewed or preserved, or made into jams and jellies.

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Planting:

Quinces are not fussy about soil, but they do require a reasonably sunny site to produce fruit. Ideal conditions would include a deep, moisture-retentive soil that is slightly acidic. Bare-root trees should be planted in the spring, spaced 12-15 feet (4-5 meters) apart. Compact forms can be grown in large containers (18-24 inches in diameter) filled with a soil-based compost.

Routine Care:

The first year is a critical time for the establishment of a new quince tree. Trees need at least 1 inch of water each week for best growth and fruit production. This becomes especially critical during dry periods. Inconsistent watering will adversely affect fruit quality. Once established, quinces require very little maintenance. Apply a slow-release, organic fertilizer in the spring, just after flowering, and a low-nitrogen, organic fertilizer (e.g. 4-6-4) made for flowers and fruit trees in late July or early August. Application rates vary according to the type and age of the plant, so always read and follow the instructions on the label. Quinces are comparatively easy to grow, but they are susceptible to some of the same insects as apple and pear trees. Fungal leaf spots and fire blight (encouraged by too much nitrogen) may also be troublesome.
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Pruning:

Quinces fruit on the tips of the shoots from the previous summers growth. Bushes may be left to grow into multi-stemmed trees, or like apple trees, pruned with an open-centered, well-spaced framework in the early years of growth. Pruning and training should be done in the dormant season between late autumn and early spring. After the fourth year, only light pruning is necessary apart from the occasional thinning of overcrowded growth or removal of dead and damaged wood. Young trees are prone to developing suckers and water sprouts, which should be removed as soon as they appear.

Harvesting & Storage:

Quinces are usually ripened like pearsoff of the tree. Pick the fruits when the skins have turned from green to gold, usually in late fall (October or early November) and the fruits take on an aromatic fragrance. In warmer climates, the fruit can be left on the tree to ripen (and soften), as long as it is picked before the first frosts.
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Store undamaged fruits in boxes in a cool, well-ventilated, dark place, where they will keep for 2 to 3 months. Wrapping the fruits in plastic should be avoided, as it will discolor them internally. Because quinces have a strong aroma, they should be stored separately so that they do not contaminate the flavors of other fruits.

Pollination & Propagation:

Quinces are generally self-fertile, but cross-pollination from other species will help improve fruit size and the overall volume of your yield. Make sure species used for cross-pollination are within 50 feet of each other and that they bloom at the same time.

Quince trees may be propagated either by chip-budding onto rootstocks in summer (July or August) or by taking hardwood cuttings in fall.

Popular Varieties:

The most widely grown cultivars are:
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  • Angers

  • Smyma

  • Champion

  • Orange

  • Portugal

  • Smyrna (used for cooking)

  • Aromatnaya (for eating)

  • Pineapple (for eating)
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Questions

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April 6, 2010

There is a bush in my backyard that has been there since I think before I was born. Every year it produces these beautiful pink blossoms well before any azaleas start to bloom. It stands about three feet tall and has remained with no care for decades. Without its flowers, its appearance reminds me a little of a boxwood. Can anyone tell me what it is and how I should care for it?

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Hardiness Zone: 7a

By Cheryl from Washington, DC

Answers

April 6, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Looks like a dwarf or miniature azalea. Good luck.

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April 6, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

It's botanical genus name is Chaenomeles, it's common name in Australia is Japonica or flowering quince. It is one of the first to flower and the flowers are often followed by fruit which can be made into 'japonica jelly', (like quince jelly but a clear red colour). They are easily grown by separating a sucker and can also be budded onto a quince rootstock which will stop the suckering habit. The plant is extremely hardy. Trust this helps, John

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April 6, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Thanks to you both! This is very helpful. I am inclined to agree with John because it is definitely hardy. I just don't want to mess it up if I try to prune it (HELP! - how do I prune it?).

I doubt it is in any way related to the azalea because the azaleas haven't even hinted at beginning their blossoms. In my area (Wash., DC - USA) azaleas appear faithfully in time for Mother's Day (the 2nd Sunday in May) and these flowers appeared more than a month earlier.

Here is a picture of the bush from a bit of a distance. I know it can look better. Can anyone point me to some care and pruning advice? Should I prune it now or wait until the flowers fade but before summer? Thanks.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 6, 2010

I have a Quince tree and I would like to know if I can grow another with seeds?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

By Sandy Rose from Aloha, OR

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