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Quince & Medlar Trees

 

Planting

Quince and medlar trees need a sunny site, sheltered site and a neutral soil to crop well, a pH. of 6.5-7.5 is ideal. They will also thrive in damp soils and heavy clay.

Plant your trees as soon as possible after receipt, allowing sufficient space for them to grow. Bush trees will typically end up 2.4-3.6m (8-12ft) in height and spread.

Should weather conditions be adverse (i.e. if the ground is frozen or too wet to plant), then the trees should be temporarily heeled in until conditions improve. Dig a hole or shallow trench, lay the trees at an oblique angle and cover the roots loosely with sufficient soil or compost so that no roots are exposed to the air.

Improve the soil structure by thorough digging before planting, ideally to a depth of about 45cm (18in) - two spades deep. Mix in plenty of well-rotted manure or compost.

Soak the root system in water for 1-2 hours. Dig a hole comfortably large enough to take the root system (so the roots can be evenly spread out), ensuring the top of the root system is level with the surrounding soil or up to 2.5cm (1in) deeper. Apply rootgrow™ mycorrhizal fungi directly to the roots before planting - this will help the tree to establish quickly. Tread firmly and water-in thoroughly. Stake the tree and secure with tree ties to prevent rocking whilst the roots establish.

TO GROW IN A POT Sibley’s Patio Quince and Medlar can be grown in pots. Initially pot your tree up into a container that is approximately 30cm (12in) in diameter using a good quality free draining loam based compost such as John Innes No. 3. The pH. should be relatively high (between 6 and 7.5).

 

Watering

Keep the soil around the tree moist throughout the first growing season. In later years only water during prolonged dry spells, drenching thoroughly no more than once a week.

IF GROWING IN A POT Your tree will need daily watering during the growing season, in extremely hot dry weather maybe even twice a day.  Aim to keep the compost moist at all times, but do NOT leave it standing in water or you risk drowning the roots.

 

Weeding & Mulching

Keep the area around the tree free of weeds, particularly during the first year. An annual mulch of well rotted compost will greatly improve moisture retention and soil structure, and help suppress unwanted weeds.

 

Pruning

Quince and medlars are usually grown as free standing bush trees. Prune back the leading shoot at planting time to the height at which you want the head to form. Over the next two winters shorten back the previous summers shoots to form a balanced ‘bush’ framework. In later years prune in late summer immediately after harvesting: just remove any broken, crossing or tangled branches, keeping the centre of the tree open to sun and air.

IF GROWING AS A PATIO TREE IN A POT Trim back all the new growths to 8-10cm (3-4in) spurs in late July or early August.  Most of the following year’s flower buds will then develop on these spurs.  As well as limiting the tree’s size this will also maintain an even balanced rounded shape.

 

Feeding

Most garden soils contain sufficient nutrients for a tree to grow healthily, though a high potash top-dressing (such as Fruit Feed) during the spring can be beneficial. Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers (such as chicken manure) which stimulate shoot growth rather than flower bud and fruit formation.

IF GROWING IN A POT Your tree will need regular feeding during spring and early summer with a high potash (low nitrogen) feed. For application rates follow the instructions on the packaging. To keep the tree growing healthily it will also need fresh compost to root into each year.  In the early years this is best done by potting the tree on into progressively larger pots. Once the final pot size has been reached, remove the tree from the pot in late winter each year, cut or chop away about a third of the rootball from the bottom, part fill the pot with fresh compost and re-pot.

 

Pests & Diseases

In the garden quinces and medlars are usually trouble-free, so a regular spray program may not be necessary but watch out for signs of pests and diseases. Any chemicals should be used strictly as per the manufacturers instructions.

 

Further Information

For further information refer to RHS Growing Fruit by Harry Baker. Useful information can also be found on the RHS website.
 

 

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